Summary: What does it mean to become a soul brother or sister? It means you love the Lord, you love one another, and it means your love endures for generation to generation.

Sunday, February 25, 2009

“Soul Brothers”

I Samuel 20: 17 – 23

Within our experience, the use of the following nouns is very common: soul brother, soul sister, soul food, soul mate, soul force, soul music, just to name a few. While the terminology may be unique to our African American Culture, the meaning of soul has no racial, cultural, political, religious, or ideological boundaries.

The idea of soul strikes at one’s deepest understanding of their relationship to the creator – God.

The Genesis 2 account reminds us that God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

So powerful is that sense of God breathing life into your soul, we sing with anticipation, “breathe on me breath of God, fill me with life anew.”

So powerful is this idea of soul that a poet once said:

A builder built a temple,

He built it with grace and skill;

Pillars and groins and arches

All fashioned to work his will.

Men said, as they saw its beauty,

It shall never know decay:

Great is thy skill, O Builder!

Thy fame shall forever endure.

A Teacher built a temple

With loving and infinite care,

Planning each arch with patience,

Laying each stone with prayer.

None praised his unceasing efforts,

None knew of his wondrous plan,

For the temple, the Teacher built

Was unseen by the eyes of man.

Gone is the Builder’s temple,

Crumpled into the dust;

Low lies each stately pillar,

Food for consuming rust.

However, the temple the Teacher built

Will last while the ages roll,

For that beautiful unseen temple

Was an immortal soul.

A sure sign of the Black Church losing its way is when it has to resort to attempts to manufacture soul.

Soul cannot be manufactured. Soul is one’s relationship to God and man.

However, soul (that relationship) can be expressed in many ways.

It can be expressed in a singer’s song, in a composers’ arrangement, in an artist’s painting, in a poet’s words, in a proud person’s stride, in a heart felt prayer, in the cadence of syncopated beat, in the soaring language of a preacher, in the determination of a March towards freedom and in a commitment to live life as brothers and as children on God.

That’s the essence of this text a commitment that was made to live life as brothers and as children of God – soul brothers.

David at this point had defeated Goliath. He had met with Saul and invited to live in the King’s house. Saul placed him in command of an army of men. Then jealous and envy hit Saul, as the women of the city would proclaim, that Saul has killed his thousands but David has killed ten thousands.

Never be envious of someone else’s soul gift. God distributes the gifts of the spirit of the soul as he so deems.

Furthermore, if we ever learn the power of using all the souls in the body of Christ. We will experience the power of the text that says, “all things work together for good, for them that love the Lord.”

Because of Saul’s envy of David’s gift’s he sets out to kill him.

To marry his daughter Michal, he demands that David kill one hundred Philistines. David kills two hundred.

In the process of the tension between Saul and David, Jonathan befriends David and covenants with him. He will love David as he loves his own soul.

In other words, they become Soul Brothers. What does it mean to be a Soul brother or a Soul sister?

1. It means that you love the Lord.

2. It means that you will love another self, greater than your own self.

Self – sacrificial versus selfish

Self-emaciating versus self-aggrandizing

“Greater love has no man than this that he lays down his life (give up his sense of self) for another.”

3. It means that your love endures from generation to generation.

Let me close with the ending of this story.

David is now at the height of his power. He is king of both Judah and Israel.

His commitment to his soul brother Jonathan extends beyond Jonathan’s death and reaches to his ancestor’s: such that David asked the question is there any left in Saul’s house to which I may show kindness.

He discovers that Jonathan has a son, who is lame from birth – Mephiboseth.

David finds the one who is lame.

He finds the one who is last.

He finds the one who is left out.

And when Mephiboseth comes into the presence of King David, David is the one who humbles himself and declares that he is Mephiboseth’s servant. He gives him all the land and treasure, he is due. He sets a place at his table for him to eat wherever he desires. He gives Mephiboseth workers to till his land and to care for him.

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