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In 1644 French philosopher, Rene Descartes, wrote his Principles of Philosophy and penned in Latin three simple words that changed the world: ‘Cogito, ergo sum’. Descartes was trying to doubt everything and thereby examine what he considered the foundation for true knowledge. His conclusion - translated into English: ‘I think, therefore I am’.

Those words helped lay the foundation for the philosophical and cultural movement of the 18th Century we now call ‘The Enlightenment’. Enlightenment thinking continues to shape Western thought and thereby Western society today. The ground of being and understanding is not centred in religion or tradition, or in society and relationships, but inevitably begins with the individual and their own personal cognition and reason.

Today we’re constantly encouraged to celebrate and affirm the power, glory, and rights of the individual. ‘Be yourself’, ‘Find yourself’, ‘Be true to yourself’, ‘Don’t let the world push you around’, ‘It’s your choice’. These are the mantras that Disney and Hollywood, popular music and the media constantly uphold.

The great problem, increasingly being manifest in a devastating emptiness within Western societies, is that human beings don’t prosper and thrive as stand alone, disconnected individuals.

Instead, as the Bible teaches, we were made for relationship. Our deepest satisfaction is found in loving and being loved. Security is not found in isolation or in amassing material possessions, but rather in a deep sense of belonging – of being covered and cherished by others.

This year our church theme is BELONG – Your Place in the Family of God. There is a better way to live: in relationship, in community, with God and with others.