“I’d like to see Paris before I die. Philadelphia will do.” ~ Mae West
Nearly two decades have passed since my last visit to Philadelphia, the former social and geographical center of the original thirteen colonies. What a marvelous city!
You’ve likely heard people call Philadelphia the city of “brotherly love,” for the city’s name derives from the Greek philos, meaning “love” and adelphos, meaning “brother.” It is an epicenter for early American history, yet rather than focus on the historical context, I’d prefer this morning to consider the value of brotherly love.
There is an old saying which goes something like this: “In union there is strength.” It does not matter if the agreement is founded in a constructive purpose or a destructive one, in union there is strength. This principle is the reason why we have good guys and sidekicks, villains and lackeys. In union there is strength.
The quality known as brotherly love conditions the unions you form, whether you are male or female. What is brotherly love? For starters, it is the spirit of service. When you function on the basis of brotherly love, you care for others and you are considerate of their needs. You look out for others. You help when they’re in a pinch. You reach out when they’re curled up, hiding from life. You give them a boost when they’re faced with an obstacle that they cannot overcome on their own.
I find it symbolic that Philadelphia occupied such a central role in the formative years of our Great Nation and I would encourage anyone interested in a meaningful, generative and fulfilling life to consider how a deeper understanding and application of the quality of brotherly love can be brought to bear on daily interactions with friends, family and enemies.