Not only are we as Christians ‘better together’, we are actually ‘knitted together’ in love by God (see Col 2:2). In our continuing series on ‘Connections’ this morning, we looked at how a cord of three strands is not quickly broken and how the individual strands are woven together by God’s Holy Spirit to make us into His body (see also Eph 4:15-16).
Eccl 4:9-12 reminds us that we are better together. Two are better than one: reminiscent of what God said when He had created Adam: ‘it is not good for the man to be alone.’ (Gen 2:18) There is a sense that two can achieve what one can’t on their own: ‘they have a good return for their labour.’ (Eccl 4:9) In addition, if one falls down, the other can help them up. (Eccl 4:10) Two can keep each other warm; you can’t do that on your own. (Eccl 4:11) One on their own may be overpowered, but two can defend themselves. (Eccl 4:12) In all of this passage, we see the benefits of relationship and togetherness, and at the end of this section, we have a reminder that a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
The simplest way of making a rope is to twist the strands together into one cohesive length. The individual strands have to be joined together to make one new object: the rope. The rope is made up of individual fibres, but these are joined together to create something new. The combined strength of twisted rope is naturally greater than that of a single strand. At Outhwaites in Hawes, there is a 100 feet rope walk in the shop and you can watch the ropemakers place the individual strands on the machine and see how these are twisted together to form the rope (watch the video here.)
In the same way, God wants to join people together into a body which looks very different from its individual components. This body He has called the church, and we are all being knitted together or united to form this whole. Paul reminds us that we are all different and have different roles and functions to play (Rom 12:4-5), but God the Holy Spirit unites us and knits us together.
There is a preparation process in making ropes: ‘In order to make rope, the fibres must first be processed. For ropes of natural materials, the fibres need to be coated with natural oil, cleaned, spread and combed to create continuous ribbons of fibre, known as slivers. The slivers are then twisted into yarn, which is wrapped onto spools or bobbins.’ God’s Holy Spirit provides the natural oil, the holy oil, the spiritual anointing which binds us together in love. He is the One involved in the preparation process and the joining together process. Without Him, this simply could not happen, but with Him, anything is possible!