The Eleanor Rigby Question
A recent article in USA today tells the story of a recent Austin transplant who “knew zero people” when moving here. He was attracted to the city for its music scene, but quickly felt isolated and excluded from all Austin has to offer. “You definitely feel like you’re on the outside,” he related. “It’s hard to penetrate that bubble.”
This story is but one example of what social scientists are calling America’s “loneliness epidemic.” I have grown fascinated by this topic. Many bookmarks on my internet browser are articles exploring the dangers of loneliness, its underlying causes and what “sacred” and “secular” solutions seem to be working.
These are complex problems that defy simple explanations. I’m confident, however, that the church can play a significant role in helping lonely people find a family. In fact, God promises to do this very thing (Psalm 68:6). In my experience, new Christians are often drawn to church (or a church related activity) not because they’re interested in Christianity, but because they want a healthy community. It’s a bit cliché, but people often belong before they believe.
Holy Week is less than a month away. It’s a special time of the year in many ways; not the least of which is that many still find attending religious services meaningful even if they’re not particularly religious.
Are there people in your life who might want to check out Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, or Easter Sunday? We miss something when we approach these services as simply times for us to remember the Lord. They’re also opportunities for us to invite the lonely (or hurting or confused or simply bored) to find a home. God sets the lonely in families. Extending invitations is one way we can participate in this work.
Grace and Peace,