“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
Those famous words from 17th century poet John Donne’s Meditations XVII remind us that none of us are made for himself, to live by himself, in isolation from others. We are made to relate to one another, to live in community together.
Even as far back as the creation account in Genesis 2, when God made man in His own image and placed him in a perfect environment of the Garden of Eden, He also concluded, “It is not good for man to be alone.” It wasn’t then, and it isn’t now.
Yet, relational independence–and what I would call “intentional aloneness”–has pervaded our society in life in the 21st century. A poll included in an article in the Wall Street Journal last August found that increasing numbers of Americans are living life in isolation. More than 60% eat breakfast alone, and 55% eat lunch by themselves. A total of 27% now choose to live alone, which is the highest percentage in our nation’s history.
Unfortunately, aloneness leads to loneliness, which affects us emotionally and spiritually. Flying solo is not just about dietary habits and whether we have a roommate, it also carries over into the way we live our spiritual lives. So many people have been taught that matters of faith are personal and private and not to be shared in public, and so more and more people keep their spiritual lives to themselves. The result is an increased rejection of organized religion and the institution of the church itself, and many believers and seekers trying to go it alone.
And as Donne attested, we were never meant to live our spiritual lives on an island.
It is surprising to me that it has become counter-cultural to say that we need each other. In our drive-thru individualistic world, the fellowship of the church is needed more than ever. God created us, with that need for fellowship, and truly it is not good that we be alone. He said so Himself.
As one of the signs on our wall reminds us weekly, “what we do, we do together.” That’s what a community of faith is all about–to know, and be known, as we get to know our Lord Jesus in the process. So here’s your invitation to get off the island and experience authentic community in the body life at Shelby Crossings.
I am praying for you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.