[Elijah] said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (1 Kings 19:10)
One Sunday during college I went with my friend to her church. I never imagined that I would both hear a sermon that has stuck with me and meet a pastor who would become a dear friend about 20 years later.
“There are no soloists in the symphony of God, Elijah” preached Rev. William Cwirla. The great prophet was at the end of his rope, convinced that the whole world was going to Hell. He had tried fighting the idolatry of King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. He showed decisively that the LORD is the only God and Baal was a fake. But that only made the King and Queen mad. Elijah gives up on even taking one more step forward. He complains to God, “I'm the only one left” who believes in You.
Pastor Cwirla's sermon put God's response into different words as he taught us that we are in this Christianity thing together, comparing us to musicians in a great symphony lifting songs of praise to our God, rather than isolated individual soloists trying to go it alone. My own life has proven that sermon true. When I have tried to live out my faith without help, like Elijah thought he was doing, it has gone badly. I've even thought of quitting like Elijah did. But I am not alone. God has blessed me with brother pastors and countless other Christians – both Lutherans and not – who encourage me in my faith and work.
You are not alone either. Now, your family might be the only Lutherans in your town. You might be the only Lutheran at your workplace or school – and that gets really lonely and awkward. However, Christ is with you – the One who went alone to His Cross so that You could be with Him in Paradise. Never will He leave you, never will He forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
More than that, you will never imagine the children of our Heavenly Father that He is preparing you to meet and befriend in the future – brothers and sisters in Christ for you to encourage and to be encouraged by on your journey through this world.
Merciful Father, by Word and Sacrament You have created Your Church in our world to be a caring family. Grant Your comfort to those who live in loneliness. Help them to find a place of healing and pleasant fellowship among people faithful to You. Amen.