Lonely no more

Pastoral Messages | January 18, 2024

In early November of last year, there was a major rescue operation underway in a remote area of the Scottish Highlands. No, there were no people in grave danger. But there was a sheep. All by herself. Stranded along a shoreline with no way out.  

As it turns out, a few kayakers first noticed this lonely sheep more than two years ago. She appeared to be stuck along a steep, rocky coastline with plenty of vegetation to snack on and certainly a beautiful view of the bay, but no apparent exit. When the same kayakers returned to the area nearly a year later, they were concerned to see this same sheep still stranded and still alone.  

 “She saw us coming and called to us along the length of the beach until she couldn’t go any further,” one kayaker said. “When she turned back around, she looked so defeated. We had to do something.” 

Soon after, the plans for a rescue began. A handful of volunteers and some heavy-duty equipment teamed up to carefully maneuver down the steep cliff, wrangle the sheep, and eventually relocate her to a farm in southern Scotland. Fiona (as the ewe is now named) quickly made herself at home, happily connecting with other animals and settling into her new surroundings.  

“The world’s loneliest sheep is lonely no more,” said her new owner. 

Who knows what life was like for this sheep for the past two years? One can imagine that there was a peaceful element to the solitary life. But it was likely lonesome and bleak after a while.  

The reality is, all of us—sheep or human or otherwise—are meant to be in community. To have genuine connection and authentic interactions with others. We are not built to go through life alone.  

That’s one of the reasons we choose to be part of a church. I suppose you can sing hymns or songs on your own. You can pray by yourself. If you wanted, you could study scripture or meditate on God’s goodness without anyone else around.  

But there’s a certain power in committing to a community—showing up for one another. We hold each other accountable and encourage one another to be generous, loving, and grace-filled. We’re challenged to see the best in others. Our gifts and abilities complement each other, helping us realize we’re actually stronger individuals when we rely on each other. None of those things can happen when we’re alone. 

I can picture the utter joy of Fiona-the-sheep as she realized she didn’t have to live out the rest of her days in solitude (not to mention the welcome help in sheering her fleece). And we’re not so different. We’ve been given the gift of community and friendship. We delight in one another—and we’re lonely no more.  

-Katy Warren, associate pastor

3 Comments on “Lonely no more”

  • Marie Lindmark

    January 19, 2024 at 9:46 am

    Thank you, Katy! What a beautiful commentary. Thank you!

  • Marcia Willi

    January 18, 2024 at 3:37 pm

    I often wonder how ppl. who don’t have the support of a church family handle their aloneness and all that entails! Thanks for the reminder katy, of how much St. Paul means to me

  • Vicki Felger

    January 18, 2024 at 2:56 pm

    Oh Katy, I read that story last week and I thought that poor sheep was an absolute warrior as she (he) needed to be when alone, found food and shelter because there was always hope she would be discovered! Just like we sometimes feel alone and undiscovered but there’s always our church, our community and God guiding us all to a safe place.

Leave a Comment