To Know and Be Known

“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.

And here we are, in 2020, practicing our “social distancing” for the good of our neighbor, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our community safe. Yet, more and more people are struggling with the disconnectedness that comes with being distant, socially, from others. Yes, we have our 24/7 access to our phones and texts and FaceTime and Zoom, not to mention Facebook. And we are being reminded over and over that “We’re all in this together.” But any way you slice it, we’re still not really “together.” 

Hopefully this time of isolation has reminded us how much we really do need each other. One of our core values at Shelby Crossings, which used to be on a poster on our wall for several years, is “What we do, we do together.” As Donne attested in his poem, we were never meant to live our spiritual lives on an island.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.

But even before the coronavirus pandemic, many people were already living their lives in some level of isolation, trying to fly solo in their walk with the Lord. They bought the lie that matters of faith are personal and private and not to be shared in public, and so they kept their spiritual lives to themselves. But God never intended for us to go it alone, to live outside of community.

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.

So if you’re feeling a little isolated and alone in this time of separation, and you don’t really know how to process the disconnectedness, that’s a good thing. We were never supposed to live like this. Just hang in there, cling to the Lord, use the resources we do have to connect where you can, and remember it won’t be long before we get off the island and experience authentic community in the body life of our church once again.

In the mean time, we are excited to have the opportunity to come together for worship again this Sunday–for those who are able to do so. I am praying for each of you, as I hope you are for me, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.

–Pastor Ken