Kà, the Cirque du Soleil show at the MGM Hotel in Las Vegas, is one of the most lavish programs in the world. The performers swing, fly, dangle, drop, and soar through the air.

One performer was Sarah Guyard Guillot, 31, a mother of two. On June 29, 2013, Sarah’s harness slipped from its safety wire. She fell ninety feet amid screams and pandemonium. The show stopped, spectators were ushered out, and the other performers gazed down in horror while dangling in the air.

            Sarah’s tragedy was the first death for Cirque du Soleil, but it was far from the first circus tragedy. One of the worst occurred in 1962, when three of the Flying Wallendas fell from a tightrope. Because they were working without a net, two died and a third was paralyzed.

            In the cirque of life, we need a safety net, too—a network called the Body of Christ. They catch us when we slip and help us bounce back. Christian friends represent one of our greatest protections in life. They are our reticulum. The term reticulum comes from a Latin word meaning “a small net.” When we have a small network of close friends, prayer or accountability partners, brothers, and sisters, we have a safety net for life. This is the Church; the system Jesus devised for when He returned to heaven. He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another” (John 13:34).

            You may ask why we need a net when God is able to keep us from falling. God is our ultimate safety. But we all have slip-ups during life’s performance. God has provided many means of grace for our safety, including the network of our Christian brothers and sisters to strengthen us when we feel ourselves crumbling or tumbling.


Safety in the Body of Christ

There’s safety in the Body of Christ. Jerry Horn served in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam. Jerry lived off base, which was dangerous. The enemy often set off remote-control explosives in places frequented by Americans. One never knew when or where an attack would come. “But,” Jerry recalls, “there was one place where tension and fear were absent. I attended a church in Saigon….As we sang, worshipped, fellowshipped, and studied the Bible, we knew that somehow in that place we were safe, and we felt it.”

The New Testament letters were written to congregations in many places, and Revelation is addressed to seven churches in Asia. Those local assemblies were places of safety in a hostile world, and the apostles constantly instructed churchgoers to care for, love, and guard one another. Wherever we travel, we can find small groups of fellow Christ-lovers, and we instantly have a place of safety.


Support From the Body of Christ

            We also gain support from the Body of Christ. Years ago, John Fawcett served a congregation in a small town in England. When asked to pastor a large London church, he accepted. But his family couldn’t bring themselves to move. They remained in their town where, supported by church members, they did a great work during the ensuing years.

            Without a network of friends, we don’t have the support needed for victorious living. When Paul was being marched as a prisoner to Rome, a group of believers from the capital city met him on the outskirts of town. “When Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage” (Acts 28:15). Everywhere he went, Paul cultivated friendships within the Church. They became his safety net.


Sustenance From the Body of Christ

            Our net of friends also provides sustenance. Studying the Bible on our own is important, but public instruction is stressed in the Bible. We read in Hebrews: “Let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25). Life is a high-flying experience. Sometimes we’re walking a tightrope; sometimes gripping a hand, soaring through the air or tumbling downward in a spill. The Church is our reticulum. Our Christian friends form our safety net and our network of sustenance. Don’t be aloof from Christian friendships. Be supportive of your church, pastor, and staff. Go out of your way to comfort, encourage, support, admonish, reassure, and love the network of friends God has given you. It’s your reticulum, your net of safety, and your network of love.


David Jeremiah is the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church and the founder and host of Turning Point for God. For more information about Dr. Jeremiah or Turning Point, visit www.DavidJeremiah.org.