Cast Upon a Horrible, Desolate Island1
I am cast upon a horrible, desolate island, void of all hope of recovery. I am singled out and separated, as it were, from all the world, to be miserable. I am divided from mankind – a solitaire; one banished from human society… I have no soul to speak to or relieve me.
These words are from the novel Robinson Crusoe, published in the United Kingdom in 1719, just shy of 300 years ago. First editions of the novel listed the author as the protagonist himself, leading many to believe it was an autobiographical account, despite being written by Daniel Defoe.
Robinson Crusoe tells the story of an obstinate Englishman whose father wished he became a pastor, but Robinson, instead, chose a life at sea. Not long after beginning this life he was shipwrecked on an island near Trinidad. (Jonah, anyone?)
Despite encountering both captives and cannibals, after 28 years on a desert island, Crusoe is saved.
It's kinda like Castaway. But without Tom Hanks or his trusty volleyball, Wilson.
Published in April 1719, the book had four editions before the end of 1719! Why, did this book sell so well? One author asserts that Robinson Crusoe seeks to "answer the questions of what happens when a person is cut off from society and from all luxuries and is forced to survive on his own."
What happens when a person is "cast upon a horrible, desolate island, void of all hope of recovery"? In some ways, that's the question that has plagued Western culture. At least since philosopher Rene Descartes' assertion, "I think, therefore I am," Western civilization has focused on the individual to the detriment of the community.
But God's people have always been just that, a people. A family. A holy nation. A group of people who are more than the sum of their parts.
This week we begin a new series defining the contours and the call of Christian community by engaging the "one another's" found throughout the Christian Scriptures:
Greet one another.
Live in harmony with one another.
Love one another.
Carry one another.
Confess to one another.
Encourage one another.
Forgive one another.
Teach one another.
Serve one another.
Because God did not intend life to be lived "separated, as it were, from all the world, to be miserable." He intended it to be lived in community, in God's family, with one another.
Pastor Curtis Bronzan