Can't Do Life Alone

Well, actually you can. Or you can try.

Every year 50,000 people die in New York City. The Times ran a story last fall about a man named George Bell, who lived and died quietly in the middle of the city. He had so few connections in life that it took over a year for the government to investigate and finish his case. The article ended by saying, "It was as if sadness had killed George Bell."

There's a part of me (not the healthiest part) that wants to be autonomous, and lucky for me I live in a country that encourages autonomy. Most people can't tell it’s me in my car, and I could go for weeks just disappearing in and out of my garage. I could order take-out every night, or use the drive-thru at McDonalds. I don't think any of those people really know me.

We live in a broken world, and yet we are drawn to community like a moth to a flame. I say a flame because the same people we are drawn to tend to hurt us, and vice-versa. And I say moth because, well, that's the saying.

And then there's the church. Man, what a mess, huh? Filled with broken people looking to fill their broken needs, often hoping the other broken people will be what we know they can't be.

But God is re-making a community, where He is the filler of needs, the one who is putting the pottery of our lives back together. And, His desire is for us to learn to live together and to actually help each other in the putting-back-together process. Wounded healers. As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:

"If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at."

I like the way Dietrich Bonhoeffer, writing Life Together while hiding during WWII, described the church:

“…let him who has the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren.”

Can't really do that kind of life alone.

- Steve