Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (CEB)

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their hard work. 10 If either should fall, one can pick up the other. But how miserable are those who fall and don’t have a companion to help them up! 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can stay warm. But how can anyone stay warm alone? 12 Also, one can be overpowered, but two together can put up resistance. A three-ply cord doesn’t easily snap.


“A three-ply cord doesn’t easily snap.”

Did you know that inside each of the 3-foot diameter main cables of the Golden Gate bridge are 27,572 individual wire ropes, each no bigger around than a pencil? Now, each of these wires on their own would be far too weak to support much weight. But woven together, they can hold up a bridge spanning nearly 8/10 of a mile. (Fun Fact: the Golden Gate Bridge has a local connection. The wire rope was made by the John A. Roebling Company of Roebling, NJ, and the cables were woven using a technique pioneered by its founder.)

This is one of the Bible’s most compelling passages about the power of connection and community. All of us would like to believe we can handle things on our own. And often we can. But then there are days when life comes at us in ways we didn’t expect, when this problem cascades into that problem and then into another problem. There are times when we don’t have enough fingers to plug all the holes the dam and we just need help.

Sometimes that help is practical: we need someone to watch the kids while we take care of something really important. Sometimes it’s emotional: we need to vent when we’re so frustrated we’re ready to cry. Sometimes it’s spiritual: when we have a hard time seeing God, we need someone to remind us that our prayers and our faith are not in vain.

There is power even in just a handful of close friendships and relationships. Everyone needs at least one person they can count on – someone you know will pick you up if you fall. We know this is true. If that’s the case, then consider how much more powerful a broader community can be.

To have people who will stand with you in the face of difficult challenges is one of the primary functions of the Church. We weave our lives together so that we can stand with and for each other. And when one of us falls, we pick each other up.

“A three-ply cord doesn’t easily snap.” None of us can carry a lot of weight on our own. But woven together, we can support many heavy burdens.

By Joe Monahan

For Pondering & Prayer

One of the things that has suffered during the pandemic is our sense of community and connection. What is one intentional step you can take today to connect with someone else for mutual support and encouragement?

Prayer: God, thank you for the gift of community. Help us to admit our deep need for and desire for connection with others. Help us to reach out to someone else to lift them up when they are struggling or feeling lonely. Remind us that you built your Church on the foundation of the twelve apostles as a testament to your desire that we seek community with your Son and with one another. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.