March 23, 2020by Reverend Dan on March 23, 2020
“It is not good for man to be alone.”
Social distancing. It’s the newest phrase in our lexicon. But the practice has actually been around for a while. For a number of years now, I’ve commented on watching two people sit six feet apart and text with each other as opposed to talking face-to-face. It’s only now when we can’t have human contact that we want to. I guess humans are funny like that. Back in the 70’s Joni Mitchell had a line in a song that explains this new paradigm very well: “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.” Amen to that.
But . . . how do we social distance in light of today’s scripture? Actually, it’s pretty easy. God doesn’t MANDATE don’t be alone. All He’s saying is that’s not how we are meant or created to live our lives.
First, let’s take a look at the context of this statement. God has been creating for five days, and He’s on a roll; seas, land, sun, moon, stars, fish in the sea, animals on dry land, birds in the air. And He likes what He sees because at the end of each of those first five days of creating, God saw that it was all “good”.
But at the end of the sixth day of creating, after He created Adam, God was really pleased. He said that day was “very good”.
Except. For the first time, God noticed something that wasn’t good. Adam, even with everything else God has created around him, was alone. I had never thought of that until now – we usually don’t think of anything being “not good” before Adam and Eve sinned. But God saw different. It wasn’t that He made a mistake. He just wasn’t finished.
So, God makes a “helper” for Adam. And it’s a good thing too because Lord knows before Maria came along it was cupcakes for breakfast, Stouffer’s for dinner, all the colors of my laundry were mixed in one load, and mowing and weed eating were the extent of my yardwork. But helper actually means a lot more than that. It’s someone to share the journey with. Someone to encourage you when you’re down, and you the same for them. When the world is beating at the door, answering it alone can be daunting. Facing life’s challenges with someone by your side changes everything.
God also instructed Adam and Eve to multiply and fill the earth. Last I checked, can’t do that alone. There are physical desires and needs and procreation that are met through a spouse.
Or how about the fact that we are a communal faith? The first people who gathered were called communities and that very word implies more than one person. It is not good for man to be alone because we are the most fulfilled sharing God’s love through a community. Because after all, it’s hard to share love when there’s no one around to share it with.
Those (and I’m sure there are others) are the reasons God saw that it was not good for man to be alone. Loneliness is one of the leading causes of depression in our world, and that’s not a surprise because it is simply a reflection of how we were made: to share in the journey of life.
So, social distancing. How do we handle it as Christians? The truth is, we live in a time when we are more connected than ever. The internet, social media, smart phones, – there are many ways we can stay connected even in the midst of a pandemic that necessitates we be separated. And most important of all, we need to remember that we are never alone because God is always with us.
Reach out and touch a friend today. Not physically . . . use your phone or text or email or Instagram or Facebook or Skype or even go old school and write a letter. We may be socially distanced, but our spiritual distance is as close as ever – if we choose to make it so.
“Father God, Open our eyes and our hears and our hearts and our minds to stay connected through these times. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”