I believe it was Aristotle that said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” He was, of course, referring to synergy — the one-plus-one-equals-three power that comes when two or more people come together with a purpose.
With today’s Lenten reflection word, “Powers” (yes, that’s Power with an “s”), we are invited to think beyond our individual abilities and gifts, and consider the possibilities of the plural.
I recently read a story about a contest that was held in rural Canada to determine who had the strongest ox. The competition was very close, with the winning ox pulling 9,000 pounds and the runner-up pulling just over 8,500 pounds. After the competition, a question arose among the crowd of how weight much the two strongest oxen could pull. The people decided to find out, and the wagering began. Some bet that the combined pulled weight would be 16,000 pounds; others decided to think big, and wagered closer to 18,000 pounds. The two oxen were yoked together, pulling together with all their might — a whopping 26,000 pounds.
That’s Powers with an “s,” folks!
I wonder, what kind of powerful change could be made with my brains and your brawn? What could we co-create with your drawings and my words? What injustices could be overcome with my patience and your passion? What problems could be solved with your logic and my intuition? What is possible when the unique power of one comes together with the equally-unique power of another?
Maybe somewhere between the three and the 26,000? Or maybe, there is no limit at all.