Patty and I headed west this past Friday to be a part of a wedding. My fourth wedding in three months. Just outside of Cheyenne, OK sits the Coyote Hills Guest Ranch. Brett wanted a "ranch" wedding. Coyote Hills fit the bill. On the way up Highway 283 we glanced over to notice cattle gathered underneath a lone tree. For those of you unfamiliar with western Oklahoma most trees are found along small creeks. The pasture we observed offered a lone tree, and not a very big one. The thermometer in the van registered an outside temperature of 102 degrees. Shade is a premium in the area – even cattle recognize the need.
It occurred to me cattle exhibit patterns of community. I know most of you will think I have lost touch. Stay with me. Cattle head to feed together. They look for shade together. They graze together. Yes, occasionally a rancher must seek after the one, but for the most part, cattle exhibit patterns of being together.
Each time I stand to officiate at a wedding ceremony, a covenant exchange, I remind those present of the one thing God noted was not good in the garden. "It is not good for man to be alone." It is here most launch into discussions of headship, who was created first. Others lay the groundwork for a complementarian position as woman was created from man’s side and became a "suitable" helper. What is more basic to me is the universal need for fellowship, companionship. God noticed man alone and it was not good. It is not good for women to be alone. It is not good for anyone to be alone. Yes, there are times where silence and solitude yield great respite from the norm. However, the picture communicates the value of each other.
Brett and Clint find themselves in a new family. They also find themselves in an old family. Yes, they will mark their way. Children will be born. Yes, we will call Bobby "grandpa" one day. Their respective families form for them a larger context in which to find encouragement, accountability and resources for the decisions of life. We need each other.
Cattle get it, I sure hope we do – sooner than later.