A lonely pine cone was lying on my driveway. I looked around to see if there were others, but I couldn't see any more, and I wondered where it had come from and how it had got there. As I thought about this solitary pine cone, the song, "I am a rock", written by Paul Simon, came to mind. The last verse of the song was quite meaningful for me:
- I have my books and my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock, I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.
We are not islands. We were not meant to be islands.
Genesis 2:18 – And the Lord God said, "It isn't good for man to be alone; I will make a companion for him, a helper suited to his needs." (TLB)
We were created for community and community was created for us.
Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. (NASB)
We need each other in times of crisis. The church family is there to help when we lose a loved one. When we are suffering, they are there, upholding us in prayer. When we are grieving, they are there to hold our hand when we are at our lowest point, even to help with chores or bring a casserole.
Hebrews 10:24-25 – And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near. (NASB)
Different and special things happen when we are worshipping God as one in Christ. In Bible study groups, we learn from each other and support each other in our faith and personal growth in Christ. And what can substitute for the laying on of hands in prayer, and those wonderful hugs?
You may say, "The church didn't come to my aid when I was down and out" or "The church is full of hypocrites." Some people refrain from going to church because they have been hurt somehow, either by the behaviour of a prominent member of the church or by a personal judgment.
When something like this happens, we need to look within, take time to reflect, and ask God what is it that He is trying to teach us. Perhaps we need to learn how to forgive and love each other the way God has forgiven and loved each one of us, flaws and all.
Prayer: Lord God, sometimes we feel all alone when we are faced with sickness or trials that disrupt our lives. We are not made of stone; we are fragile and vulnerable. Be our comfort in our time of need, and help us to be a comfort to others. Help us to lean on the true Rock, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Amen.