Biblical Illuminations
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A Cord of Three Strands - Ecclesiastes and John Donne

Posted by Douglas Twitchell on Feb 18, 2006
Monday night I was babysitting Daniel. We had a good time; we played together, and watched part of Revenge of the Sith. Daniel showed off his lightsaber moves (I think the force is with him!).
I brought my laptop and puttered on some work stuff while the movie was on. But while I was trying to work, the cat just wouldn't leave me alone. That foolish thing was climbing all over me. On my shoulders, in my lap, rubbing up against my arm, practically sitting on my laptop...

A very affectionate cat. If you pet this cat, you'll have a friend for life, and you'll probably live long enough to regret it.

When Arnold got home I made a comment about how friendly the cat was. He said, "Yeah, he's been like that ever since we got rid of the other cat. I think it's because he doesn't have anyone to play with any more."

I thought this was interesting, because I've been noticing, for the last couple months, exactly the same thing about Daniel. Daniel has always been a very affectionate boy, but now that Josh has gone off to college, Daniel is ten times as affectionate...always wanting a hug, or just to cuddle up close to someone.

It's a good reminder that none of us was ever intended to be alone. We were created with the desire and the need for others. No man is an island, as John Donne wrote:

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. ~John Donne

The book of Ecclesiastes reiterates the importance of togetherness with others:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.

Our world is on a fast track toward disconnected living; a whole lot of things (many of which are not necessarily bad in themselves) are conspiring to separate us from one another. It's all the self help gurus who tell us we can make it on our own. It's our completely mobile society which causes families to stay in touch less and less. It's the internet, which encourages one form of socialization, while breaking down other forms. It's the television and movies and computer games which are so colorful and exciting that they seem more real, more interesting to us than real people.

The result is, we start to believe that we can live a life as an island entirely disconnected from one another. But we were not built this way, and if we try to live this way, we do so to our own harm.

No man is an island. Two are better than one. A cord of three strands is not easily torn apart.




Where to Go from Here...

Read more: Church, Love
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