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A Cord of Many Strands

It's a passage I have used many, many times, and I used it again today, this time in the message paraphrase...

Ecclesiastes 4: 9 – 12

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough!

Two in a bed warm each other.
Alone, you shiver all night.

By yourself you’re unprotected.
With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third?
A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.


As people arrived at the service, they were given a piece of cord, and told they didn't have to do anything with it until I invited them to do so.  I had made a three-cord plait, and observed that it was stronger than a single strand, then wondered how much stronger a multi-stranded rope would be... As we sang 'Bind us together with cords that cannot be broken' people were invited to bring their cords, which I then plaited into a single 'rope' which is stronger still.  Of course the analogy has limits, but it was surprisingly moving to stand at the front of the church and receive each person's cord to add to the whole.

The real challenge, for me and for us, is to progress beyond symbols, however lovely or meaningful, to the truth to which they point... I am hoping next Saturday's summer BBQ in the manse garden might help with that!


  • Hi Catriona,

    I always enjoy reading your blog. May you have a good day.

  • Thank you, Margaret, you too!

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