I was reminded this week of the first time in the Bible when God calls something bad or harmful. In the account of creation, there is an affirmation following each day; something to the effect, and it was “very good.” Standing in stark contrast we read these words in Genesis 2:18, “The Lord God said, It is not good for the man to be alone…” or as the band Three Dog Night famously sang, “one is the loneliest number,” which was repeated again and again for emphasis. The truth is, we were made for community.
Christianity is both a private discipline and a shared experience. Did you realize that there are 59 one another commands in the New Testament? Andy Stanley writes that THE primary activity of the church was 'one-anothering' one another. Consider the partial list below:
“…Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)
“…Love one another…” (John 13:34)
“…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
“Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)
“…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19)
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12:10)
“Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10)
“Encourage one another daily…” Hebrews 3:13
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)
“Be kind and compassionate to one another…” (Ephesians 4:32)
“…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)
And of course, the one that none of us is practicing these days for good reason:
“Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (I Corinthians 16:20)
The question I would like for each of us to ask these days—How can I combat isolation and “be” the church during these days of social distancing and COVID 19? While “greeting one another with a holy kiss” is clearly off the table for now, loving each other is not. Nor is bearing one another’s burdens or encouraging one another daily. It is so easy for us to focus on what we “cannot do” that we neglect what we can. To “carry one another’s burdens,” “pray for one another,” or “encourage one another…” will require that we take initiative. It will mean that we pick up the phone and call a friend you haven’t seen in a while. It will unfortunately mean that we join yet another zoom call, only for the purpose of connecting with friends from our LIFEGroup and encouraging each other with God’s truth. It may mean getting together practicing social distancing or sharing prayer needs through online worship. It may mean sending an encouraging e-mail or note to someone you know is struggling.
Join me in combating the isolation that many of us are experiencing these days. It is truly not good for us to be alone. Choose one way you can “one another someone today” and do it! Feel free to reach out to me. I would be honored to pray for and with you.