From the pastor
“No man is an island”. This line came from a poem by John Donne. It became a popular song, and it is not gender specific. We were created by the God who is in eternal communion as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to live a life in relationships. A real, living dynamic relationship with Him, and with one another.
Some of the lyrics of the song are as follows:
No man is an island,
No man stands alone,
Each man’s joy is joy to me,
Each man’s grief is my own.
We need one another,
So I will defend,
Each man as my brother,
Each man as my friend.
During the disasters our communities have been through over the last couple of years, what has stood out has been the way so many have been willing to step in to help a neighbor or a complete stranger in their time of need. It’s too bad that it so often takes a disaster to force us to stop and connect with others.
We went out for a walk after the rain and storms abated last Monday, and on a nearby street, a beautiful big jacaranda tree in someone’s back yard had been blown over and was partially blocking the street. The owner’s father had just started cutting branches with a chainsaw, so we joined them with the clean-up, and as time went by, around 20 people were involved. We met and talked with people with whom we would normally have no connection.
It took the darkest time in human history to bring about the true restoration of relationships. Jesus death, and resurrection resulted in our being reconciled to God, and the means to be reconcile to one another. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Col 1:19-20) With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the church was formed to be a community of love, with the commission of sharing the good news of Jesus to the world. From all of the damage that has been caused because of sin and rebellion against God, a new creation has begun.
We can be so thankful that Christ has raised up communities of his followers, who with the indwelling Holy Spirit, can share the love of God through worship, fellowship, service, discipleship and reaching out to our communities. It is through our participation in this life of God that we grow into the maturity of Christ. We can’t do it on our own, although many think they can.
In an interview on ABC Radio National, Robert Putnam, author of “American Grace” made this very important point: “It turns out that if you’ve got friends at church, no matter what your beliefs, your behaviour is nicer. Those church friends have somehow induced you to be nicer. And conversely, if you are deeply devout and all you think about is religion and God is constantly on your mind and you even go to church every Sunday but you sit alone in the pews and you don’t have any friends at church, it turns out you’re not any nicer than the most secular person. It’s the church social networks, church friends, that induce this remarkably more altruistic behaviour of religious people.”
Even though our population is growing, social commentators are saying that one of the major social issues we have in Australia is loneliness. So it highlights again the blessing that a loving church community is to all. “Two are better off that one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up…Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break.” (Eccl 4:9 TEV)
We do need one another, so value the friends we have, be a good friend to all, and be open to new friendships. Let the Holy Spirit fill us with the love of Jesus Christ so that we can all be helping to build and develop the Body of Christ.
‘Til next time,