The Weekly Word – Alone and Together With Jesus

In an important but challenging scripture text the Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
I am reminded of the play by Henrik Ibsen, “An Enemy of the People.” In it a community has gone to considerable expense to develop the natural hot springs found in the region and turn them in​to
 baths which will attract tourists. However, the town’s doctor discovers that the water is contaminated. And so the baths must not be open​ed​ until the problem is corrected​, but correcting the problem​ will not be cheap. 
At first the key citizens of the town are supportive of the doctor​,​ and they urge him to pressure the resistant city government into corrective action. But when it becomes clear that the interests of many of the key citizens will be threatened by such a move and that the expense will fall upon the general population, the people abandon the doctor when he continues to argue that the baths are unsanitary and that if tourists are drawn to the town by them they will be at risk of disease. The doctor is denounced as an enemy of the people and an opponent of his own town.
In response to his critics he affirms his love for his community. But that love is not the sort that pleases them. “Yes,” he says, “my native town is dear to me​, but I would rather ruin it th​an to see it flourishing upon a lie.”
Because of his insistence upon proclaiming the unwelcome truth​, he and his entire family were ostracized. In the midst of his isolation and loneliness the doctor speaks to his wife in a hushed voice: “You mustn’t say anything about it yet but I have made a great discovery.”  “Another one?!” his wife asks. “Yes,” replies the doctor, “It is this: let me tell you that the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.”
Perhaps in some ways that is true. At least it is true that we will be strong if we stand alone with God, remaining faithful regardless of what others do. But while we may occasionally have to stand alone, I also recall the words of Jesus, “Where two or three are gathered together, I am with you” (Matthew 18:20). We are called to stand together as disciples of Jesus.  We can be stronger in our nonconformity to this just and wayward world if we stand together. As the author of Ecclesiastes wrote, “Two are better than one…A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 3:9, 12).
​Grace and Peace,​
Pastor Craig

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *