“The Power of Togetherness"
The past couple of years have been, and continue to be, challenging for many. During the height of the pandemic, we became more aware of our need for companionship and our reliance on one another. It has been years since the shutdown, but uncertainties still surround us. We thank God for the vaccine while acknowledging that the pandemic continues and that the coronavirus continues to mutate. The impact of climate change is increasingly evident, women’s rights are under siege, communities continue to be underserved, hatred and bigotry are being legitimized, the US continues to lead the world in incarceration rates, and despite repeated mass shootings our elected representatives struggle to enact legislation to reduce gun violence. These are challenging times.
We are appreciating the “power of togetherness” while navigating the rough waters that accompany it. While this Ecclesiastes text warns us of the dangers of being alone, it also talks about things like toiling, falling down, fighting, woe, and being cold. It reminds us that life is a battle that is best fought with someone by your side. But people sometimes disappoint, and it can be hard to depend on others.
We can find ourselves thinking or saying, “Two are better than one. Oh really?” Sometimes two simply seem to irritate one another. And yes, when two fall one can pick the other up, but sometimes we grow weary of supporting one another, weary of picking up our fallen comrades. And sometimes, if we are the one who has fallen, we are embarrassed and resentful that someone has witnessed our weakness and seen us fall. Two might be better than one because they have a good reward for their toil, except inflation is high, money is tight, and who has the resources to reward anyone? Two may be better than one because if they lie down together, they keep warm but, who has the time to lay down and rest? Two are better than one because two will withstand one. But fighting together means trusting that you have my back and I have yours--but trusting isn’t easy. Togetherness can require a lot of effort, faith, and transparency. And it can make us wonder if it isn’t easier to just go it alone.
We might convince ourselves that alone is better, except for that one troubling line—a threefold cord is not easily broken. Haven’t we been talking about two being better than one? How did we get to a threefold cord, where did three come from? I believe God is reminding us that the idea of joining people together and working in community can be absurd and impossible if that joining is attempted apart from God. The “Power of Togetherness” can only occur when God is a part of the equation—only when we invite God to become the third cord.
Rev. Dr. Marilyn P. Turner-Triplett, Transistional Pastor
9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12