Loneliness Looms Word on the Week 24th October 2020.
“It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis Chapter 2 verse 18) is the first hint God gives of something unsatisfactory in an otherwise perfect universe. Our triune God is relational therefore man made to accurately reflect his image would require also to be relational.
‘God gave us our friends but the devil our relations’ is an oft repeated jest but it is simply not true! It is, of course, a play on the word relation. We are relational beings. We have been created this way. This is why, no matter how much people may rant against it we have been made male and female (Genesis Chapter 1 verse 27). And it is as men and women that we are to fulfil God’s command to be fruitful and multiply.
But having children was not the first reason for marriage. The prior reason is to create a bulwark against loneliness. That is why it is sometimes called a covenant of companionship. It is a lifelong arrangement which continues long after childbearing years have passed and helps to sustain each other in old age.
For the single person who is following the Lord they may well have the gift of singleness (1 Corinthians Chapter 7 verse 7). St Paul’s wish was for all to have that gift which freed him from family responsibilities to focus on Gospel work. His close fellowship with Christ is an example for believers to follow bearing in mind that we are, through faith, permanently linked to Christ (1 Corinthians Chapter 6 verses 15 to 20).
It is this relationship with Christ that will support us in lockdown. It continues undisturbed by pandemics. It enables us to see who we are truly living for; who we have time for when the work scene reduces and the social environment disappears. Lockdown gives us more fully the opportunity to see ourselves as God sees us and our place in his Kingdom. Let St Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians (Chapter 3 verses 14 to 21) lead you: – For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.