Dear Friends 

 

There is a lovely passage in Ecclesiastes, chapter 4, often read at weddings: 

    9 Two are better than one,
        because they have a good return for their labour:
    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.

It is actually unlikely that this is about marriage. More likely the reference is to friendship in general and to working partnerships in particular. Two are better than one. It’s so true. We were made social beings. We were made in the image of a social God (if I may put it that way) – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is not good for the man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). We need other people. Two are so much better than one. 

 

What about the third strand in verse 12? ‘A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.’ What or who is this added one? The text does not say, but Christians have often interpreted this as a reference to Christ. When Jesus is in a marriage, how much stronger it is. When Jesus is in a friendship, how much stronger it is. Such marriages, such friendships, are not quickly broken. 

 

As Christmas passed and we entered 2021 and a third lockdown which, clearly, was going to be a long one, it struck me more than ever how we need to be two-stranded and three-stranded people. And today, as I am writing this, it has just been announced that schools won’t reopen until March 8th at the earliest, which means that other restrictions won’t be lifted until even later. Our need for two- and three-strandedness is even clearer. We need each other. We need Jesus. And we need Jesus with each other.

 

So we are working hard to think of ways in which we can encourage this. It will all have to be by Zoom, which wouldn’t be our choice but is surely God’s gift at this time. You will hear details of our Lent Course coming soon (Ash Wednesday is 17th March) which, I hope, will encourage lots of us to gather and meet. We are planning two prayer breakfasts (eat your own croissant, or Full English, in the comfort of your own kitchen). We are also planning some fun games events, such as the quiz night which will have happened by the time you read this. If you have ideas, send them in. And remember the blessing and benefit of growth groups. 

 

When life is like it is now, it is easy to stop bothering. Believe me, I feel that pull. We must resist this. Let’s endeavour to be two-stranded and three-stranded people, here for one another with Jesus binding us together. 

 

Your brother in Christ 

Philip 

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