I came across an interesting news story out of Great Britain. Here is the headline, “Britain Appoints First-Ever ‘Minister of Loneliness’ to Tackle Social Isolation.”
Loneliness is such a pervasive but silent problem that the English government is doing something about it. Will they be successful? Only time will tell. This news story reminds me of a song that was written many years ago by a group of British musicians…
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?
Father McKenzie, writing the words
Of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near…
Yes, Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles. There is no doubt that loneliness can be a problem for people of every age. This is not limited to those who are older or are homebound. As enjoyable as social media is (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.…) those platforms cannot replace human contact and face to face interaction.
It is clear from the earliest writings in the Bible that we are created for community. Remember when God was looking down on Adam and he was the only human? God commented, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” This means way more than the traditional interpretation that has been assigned to it. We are created for community and (not isolation) because we are created in the image of God who exists in community.
God is One but in the mystery of God there are three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God’s very nature is communal and we were created and wired to be connected to one another. One of the reasons we worship together is so that we will be together. Yes, we can worship God as individuals but if that is all we do, we miss the importance of human connection. See, God knew what He was doing when he created us and then gave us the gift of the Church.
I love coming to church on Sunday (except for the getting up early part). I love coming to worship because I get to be with all of you (if you are a Bethel member). You lift me up and I hope that I do the same for you in Jesus’ Name. I feel less human when I haven’t touched base with my church family.
I am reminded of the words from the New Testament book of Hebrews. In the 10th chapter, the author gives a specific encouragement that I hope we all take to heart. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
We can’t encourage one another without being together. I don’t know about you but I find being in the company of brothers and sisters in Christ much more uplifting than receiving an email or reading a lame old newsletter article! (Thanks for continuing to read, by the way.)
I don’t want to be known as the “Minister of Loneliness” on Sunday morning. I would much rather be known as pastor. Why? Because pastor in Spanish means shepherd.
I am a better person because you are in my life. I hope to see you soon.