I was initially want to say something today about Helen's excellent sermon on the image of the church as crazy paving but watching the news at lunchtime made me rethink what I wanted to say. No, I haven't changed my mind on Helen's sermon – I still think it was excellent but I was struck by an item speaking about the hidden pandemic of loneliness.
I suspect that most of us from time to time have had to deal with loneliness and for some of us this is a chronic condition made worse by the pandemic. The rescuer within me wants to make this right for everyone and yet this is impossible. It also isn't the right thing to do. If our reflections on church have taught us anything so far it is that we are equally valued and equally needed. My going out on my own on a one woman mission to save the world from loneliness is unlikely to be effective and is not what God calls us too either.
I am not the church, we are the church.
We are the people of God who are sent out to bless and to declare God's good news in the world. Just like the crazy paving, we are all different shapes and sizes and gifted in unique ways yet when we all join together we create something beautiful that leads to people to the very throne of God.
Loneliness and isolation are killers. One person cannot overcome them alone and yet together, as the church we can make a huge difference when we look beyond ourselves and to the needs of those around us. It takes all of us bringing that little bit of light and hope where we are.
How you can be a blessing right now:
- Smile at people when you go out.
- Chat to the person at the till when you pop to the shop.
- Check that the person sat alone on the bench or on a wall is okay.
- Notice who you haven't seen around for a while and give them a call or send them a text.
- Do some baking and deliver it to your neighbours or to people at work or to staff at school.
- Set up or join a WhatsApp group with your neighbours.
- Send Christmas cards to everyone on your street (making sure you put your name and your house number)
- Let someone know!!
- Join an online group (Women's footprints, Book Club, Over 50's, Wednesday Morning Prayer, Fellowship group or one of the many in the wider community)
- Pick up the phone and call someone (make the first move)
- Invite someone out for a walk (we are still allowed to meet with one person)
Being church is all about connecting so why not make take the opportunity to connect today?