During his recent visit to the United States, Pope Francis said the following in his address to Congress:
- The challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has accomplished so much good throughout the history of the United States. The complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience.
In this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society. It is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. Such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.
Reflecting on the ideas expressed in the Pope's well-chosen words, I thought of another man who conveyed some of the same insights to a different audience many years ago.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 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. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (NIV 2011)
These verses offer an immense challenge to the church, to governments, to boards, and to committees. Working together is developing common goals and strategies. Working together does something to people which Proverbs 27:17 describes: "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." (NIV 2011)
Working together keeps us on target. Working together keeps us honest. Working together sharpens our minds. Working together keeps us from being overpowered by temptations. Working together brings results. Working together is a cord of strands not easily broken.
Prayer: Gracious God, thank You for this day. Thank You for the experience of Your love. Thank You for this day which challenges us to work with others. Amen.