May 13 2020: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 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.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
If two are better than one, then clearly three is even stronger. There is much to commended in this short bit of wisdom – it is all about the power of community. As I mentioned on Sunday, it is a clear reflection of the reality that we are created to be in relationship with one another, and indeed, we thrive when we are in those healthy relationships. Why? It is simple – when one falls, the other is there to catch; when one is hurt, the other can be strong; when one is down, the other may lift their spirits. Our best relationships are made of give and take; a reciprocal quality that can be holy. As Henri Nouwen would say, ‘there is giving and there is receiving, and at its best, neither giver or receiver is aware of the exchange.’
Have you someone (or someones?) in your life that becomes part of your three stranded cord? Yes, God is always part of that strand – and so too are others with whom we are blessed to share life. Just yesterday I got to spend time with two of our saints who are so strong in who they are that I could not help but be lifted for the remainder of the day. Even this morning, I smile as I remember our conversation.
I am grateful for the many, many strands that have been a part of my life; and whose lives I hope I have been able to strengthen as well.
What about you?