Calvin had Hobbes. Bonnie had Clyde. Dorothy had Toto, the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man. Frodo had Sam. Peanut Butter still has Jelly. Tightknit relationships, all. Like moths (and all flying insects) to a flame, or our front door light, we naturally gravitate to them. Little children have play dates. Even dogs have play dates! Just ask Sue to tell you some of her Fred & Zella stories! Schoolyards and playgrounds see them forming. Sports teams. Drama teams. Band. Chorale. Collectors of everything from stamps to Elvis memorabilia. Knitters. Poker players. Chess enthusiasts. Scrapbookers. Book worms. Foodies. Bikers. Antique car buffs. Lovers goin’ to the Chapel (Gail Sheehy, in her book, Passages, calls this last ‘grouping’ the Urge to Merge). There are, as well, groupings of those who are socially unhealthy, like gangs and extremists and the phobia-driven.

Chris M. Coursey, in his book, Transforming Fellowship, says: “We are from beginning to end relational beings designed for fully relational lives with God and others.” Not surprising, as our God is intensely relational, having created us in his image and likeness with the express purpose of wooing us into intimacy: friendship, partnership, adoption into his very own family, the community of forever love we call the Holy Trinity. The current virus-rampant plague in our world has highlighted our need to be in family, in community, in fellowship, notably, because of the non-availability of it, the never-before-considered risks of being in it, the fragility of that which was, pre-pandemic. Social media platforms, at first, thrilling and better than nothing, have come up wanting, not adequately filling the void of in-person contact. The recent proliferation of stress, loneliness, depression, addictions, suicides, all corroborate the Scriptural truth of our relationship-seeking, relationship-craving natures. Jesus’ promise to never leave us or forsake us is a candle shining in the dark, a candle which, because of our relationship with Jesus, we too carry, sending us out to shine his hope and encouragement on those who have not yet been captured in the glow of God’s glorious plan and provision for them. Okay, Saints! Candles ready? Got matches? Go! But do come back for tomorrow morning at 10 AM, though. Looking forward to seeing y’all – virtually.  PD

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