My dog, Bert, likes to hang out with me when I sit outside. He lept up in my lap as I sat down for my very first devotional sit spot time. The moment I finished offering thanks, he lept down. He went and did his own thing, while I observed nature and meditated on my senses. Today, he laid down right in front of me, and also sat at my side as if on vigil watching with me.
I noticed many animals moving together this morning: a pair of robins feeding, a pair of jays working a circuit above me crying out a warning of a neighboring hawk, and pairs of squirrels being squirrelly. I don’t know what else to call squirrel activity. I can’t figure out what in the world they are doing, but they seem quite excited by it and love having company. There in the middle of it all – Bert and I quietly sit together beneath a Loblolly Pine savoring the moment.
Everything is better with Bert. And, almost everything is better when you aren’t alone in life. We are undeniably created to be connected. I think we all felt a rude reminder of this simple truth when the pandemic dried up fountains of family and friend connections. We found ourselves parched and thirsting for time together.
So many scriptures came to mind beneath the pine this morning as I pondered our need for buddies:
“9Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
10 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.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”-
— 1 Thessalonians 5:11
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” — Matthew 18:20
“18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be” and “27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” — 1 Corinthians 12:18,27
And last but not least, shortly before Jesus was arrested he gathered the disciples and told them, “no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” –John 15:15
I’m so grateful for the many buddies in my life. They encourage me. They make the weight of burdens lighter. They offer wisdom, strength, and companionship. Hopefully, on a daily basis I reciprocate.
Most of all, I am grateful God isn’t just an idea, but a being, a being who promises presence. I’m grateful God loves us so much that he didn’t send a lifeless set of rules but a son. I’m grateful that his Son, Jesus Christ, promised to be with us to the end of the age, so that I’m never alone. I’m grateful for you sitting here reading this as a brother or sister in Christ. And I’m grateful that come tomorrow morning, Bert will be right by my side once again, making all things just a little bit better.
Reflection questions: Who are your buddies? Who needs you as a buddy right now? Lastly, what does it mean for you that God desires a loving relationship with you?
A Collect for Connection
Gracious God, who desires and enters into a relationship with us, stir our hearts in such a way that fostering connections with others is one of our highest priorities, so that no one suffers from the pain of isolation, but instead feels the beauty of belonging, in the name of Jesus our friend and redeemer we pray. Amen.
BONUS POINTS –
Bonus points to anyone who posts a picture of their pet or best buddy in the comments wherever you may be seeing this.
Here are a few of Bert from this morning during my sit: