In the Bible, the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes contrasted the strength of people living in relationship with the delicateness and the vulnerability of people living alone. This is from Ecclesiastes. "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. [...] Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
What the biblical writer said thousands of years ago is confirmed by research today. people who are relationally isolated are more likely to experience colds, heart attacks, strokes, cancer, depression, and premature death of all sorts. Dozens of studies show people who are socially disconnected are between two and five times more likely to die from all causes compared with matched individuals who have close ties.
God's plan is for nobody to be alone, for everybody to be known and loved and cared for and cherished, and his plan for that is called the church. There has never been anything like the church. It is described (the early church) in the book of Acts. Some of you will know Acts, chapter 2, is a classic passage, and it says that people in this new community who were following Jesus devoted themselves...
This is a strong word. They devoted themselves to community. They learned together what the apostles taught about Jesus, and they had fellowship with each other. They got real. They took off masks, and they prayed together, and they ate together, and they suffered together, and they shared with each other in quite extraordinarily generous ways, and they did this, the text says, actually on a daily basis. Every day they would meet at the temple to worship. Every day they would meet in their homes to break bread.
God hates aloneness. God loves family. God loves inclusion. Jesus said we are to pray to our God as our Father. What that means is you have millions of brothers and sisters all around the world. By the way...by the way...by the way... Just so you all know, for all of the ways that all of us humanly mess up the church thing, it actually works in quite extraordinary ways!
The word became flesh, so let’s get some skin in the game.