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Burden Bearing

February 6, 2017

easter-island-statuesI’ve built walls,
a fortress, steep and mighty
that none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship.
Friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock. I am an island.

I have my books
and my poetry to protect me.
I am shielded in my armor
hiding in my room safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock. I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain. And an island never cries.

The sentiments of that Simon and Garfunkel song are a tragic folly. The last line laments the hopelessness of one who imagines himself to be beyond pain because he has cut himself off from relationships. An isolated life is one of despair.

The isolated Christian life is desolate. The Christian cannot live apart from other believers because of who he is in Christ. At salvation the believer is joined with Christ. Christ is in the Christian and the Christian is in Christ. This unatterable union is the fountainhead of all Christian growth.

The Christian’s union with Christ brings him into union with other believers. He is baptized into the body of Christ, adopted into the family of God and made a living stone in the temple of God. He is one of a band of pilgrims traveling together to that city whose builder and maker is God. The Christian life was never intended to be a lone journey. One man against all the odds may make a good story, but it makes terrible Christianity. The overwhelming assumption of the New Testament is that every Christian will be a part of a church, helping and being helped by Christians who love him nearly as much as they love God. The Christian who isolates himself from relationships within a local church is going to be as fruitful as a rock and as vigorous as an island.

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