Community in church – Women’s Devotion
In spring 2023, the US surgeon general released a report about social connection, sharing that the country is in an epidemic of loneliness and isolation. Even before the pandemic, with its subsequent isolation, about half of U.S. adults reported experiencing loneliness. From the surgeon general’s point of view, that’s a health risk because the physical consequences include a 29% increased risk of heart disease, a 32% increased risk of stroke, and a 50% increased risk of developing dementia.
For those of us who are Christians, how can we make a difference? Well, we obey the encouragement in Galatians 6:10: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
We do good to people with different political, social, and religious beliefs; to our coworkers, boss, or employees; to grouchy neighbors, people at the gym, and members of the book club.
But let’s not overlook the part that tells us to do good “especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” See, while loneliness may have physical dangers, loneliness in the church can present spiritual dangers. If people don’t feel loved in the family of believers, they might get bitter, stop coming to church, grow distant from people who can keep them connected to God.
As Christians, we are in a unique position to give people community, because we have the best community ever. It’s a family that loves each other now and lives together with God eternally. So, for now, with the Holy Spirit living in us, we have the gift of being the ones who make human connection. We use the specific gifts God has given us to bless the family. We listen to each others’ hurts, celebrate each others’ joys. We practice hospitality, encourage each other, and hold each other accountable, which is the hard part of friendship. We pray with and for each other. Ultimately, we “one another” each other.
Written by Linda Buxa