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MARCH 4, 2021

 

 

BIBLE READINGS


Ecclesiastes 4:9-10


Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

 

Genesis 2:18


“It is not good for the man to be alone,

so I will create a companion for him, a perfectly suited partner.”

 

ALONE


A few weeks ago, my Television provider gave me a free preview of the History Channel. I came across a series on this network called Alone. Alone, if you do not know about it, is a docu-series that has been described as a cross between Survivor and Man vs. Wild. Ten contestants are stationed in isolation in different areas of Canada’s Northwest Territories near the Arctic Circle with limited supplies. Scattered around Canada's Great Slave Lake, the deepest lake in North America, each contestant can remove themselves from the competition or they may be removed by the medical staff after a weekly check in. The last person standing wins a $500,000 prize. They encounter brutal conditions, including freezing temperatures, starvation, and animal attacks—all while self-documenting their experiences and having zero contact (other than medical checks) with the outside world for the duration of the competition, which can last over one hundred days.


Despite all the physical hardships that they encounter, many of the contestants who are outwardly succeeding in all regards (plenty of food and shelter) are utterly tormented by the tension created between choosing separation or reuniting, for their core desire is for the personal connections that they have lost, yet their goal is to make it to the end of the competition and claim that financial payout. They are tormented by these two competing values. I only saw a couple of episodes but something I noticed was that these survivalists, these “wild at Heart” individuals, portray themselves as fiercely independent, yet they cannot seem to push down the longing they have for connection with others. Humankind is not designed for isolation: we are designed for community and to be in relationship with one another. In Genesis 2:18, we read “It is not good for the man to be alone, so I will create a companion for him, a perfectly suited partner.” Community!


Hardships make us feel isolated and lonely, Exiled. If you have ever lost a job or a loved one, you know the feeling. Perhaps you may find that you have been physically isolated from your family for health reasons, or safety. We all have had a measure of this through the pandemic.


And it is here that we all find ourselves. In this tension of needing to remain isolated to protect ourselves and others, we also long for the community which we have lost. It is in these seasons in life that we are called to continue singing to Him a new song, no matter where we find ourselves in isolation and exile.


Jesus knows about this experience, he felt the pain of isolation and abandonment too. He knows the struggle. He faced the unbearable pain on the cross, feeling the separation from the His Father. “Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). (Matthew 27: 45). We can be thankful, that our hope is in Him, who intimately knows the pain we feel.


We are a community people. Our God is the community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and never alone. God created His people to thrive in community and therefore, to be a communal people who live life together, who do life together, in whatever way we can, grounded in our God and his son Jesus.


God is with Us, present to us, and we as a community of Jesus are learning what it means, and looks like in practice, to be there for one another. We, I, have not perfected this, we are learning. Please do not go it alone, reach out to others, be there for others. As you experience this life road, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

 

PRAYER


Lord Jesus Christ,

you prayed that we would be one,

even as you and the Father are one,

would you grace us with your Spirit

that we may grow in grace and fellowship

and discover joy in walking together as part of your body

so that the world may know of God’s love in Christ.

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