Empathy for Cheese

There is a children’s song that I learned many years ago.  It is called the Farmer in the Dell.  After the first verse, there is this continuous cycle.  The farmer takes a wife, and the wife takes a nurse, and then it switches to animals.  The dog takes the cat, and the cat takes the mouse, and the mouse takes the cheese.  Then the final verse states, “The cheese stands alone.”

The original song dates to 1826 in Germany.  It came to the United States, probably from German immigrants, around 1883.  It is based on a nursery rhyme and is a fun song for children to sing with each other. 

The final line would go on to be used as an idiom in America.   That means it is a phrase with meaning beyond the definition of individual words, like saying, “you are in hot water.” That means you are in trouble and does not involve a tub or any real water.  The cheese stands alone has been used to describe people who do not fit in with everyone else. For example, a person might ask if you were invited to a party, and you could respond by saying, “No.  The cheese stands alone.” 

This weekend our Church will gather to worship the Lord.  One of the most beautiful aspects of the Christian community is that the cheese never stands alone.  No one should ever feel like an outsider who doesn’t belong.  The Church is a community of people where even the cheese finds someone with which to connect. 

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