Two short years ago, a Harvard study suggested that 36% of all Americans feel “serious loneliness.” Half the lonely young adults surveyed stated that no one in the previous two weeks had even asked how they were doing. And just a few months ago, the Surgeon General’s officed warned that the US is facing a “public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection.”
Loneliness plagues folks all around us. Perhaps you struggle with it, too.
We in the Church share a priceless gift: Christian community. Scripture eloquently describes how Christian believers need one another to function properly as a living whole. At Bethesda, many of us come from different backgrounds; we have differing opinions. Nevertheless, through a powerful work of the Holy Spirit, we love one another – not just in spite of our differences, but often because of them. Together, we learn to love as Jesus loves. And we have a lot of fun while we’re at it.
If you suspect someone you know is struggling with loneliness, please reach out. A simple invitation to lunch, Sunday worship, or a church event can change the trajectory of another’s life. And if you’re lonely, reach out to your shepherd, a friend, a member of the staff or clergy. Come to a class, join a small group, attend a gathering. The Bethesda calendar is brimming with occasions to connect with God and one another on a meaningful level. That’s by design.
Christ’s love abounds at Bethesda. When we share that love with one another, it heals the hurt of loneliness. It’s a gift of God’s grace we share with one another, and with the whole world.
The Rev. Susan R. Beebe