Yesterday I preached at Mathison Retirement Center about friendship with Christ and the loneliness that we may encounter in life. It seemed to resonate with some of the residents. One, in particular, shared her feeling of loneliness during the first few months after she moved to Mathison.
The single most debilitating condition that people battle in the world today? Loneliness……not to be confused with actually BEING alone. Loneliness has nothing to do with how many people are around. It has to do with one’s ability to for…m attachments…emotionally and spiritually with other people. Our culture is not helping to foster this ability. It sells people on the notion that connectedness is about sex and partying, and enjoying pleasure, living the “good life” (defined in material terms) and pursuit of wealth, power, or beauty. Our churches can help people know the truth….. it’s about meaningful friendships and emotional attachment to a number of people with whom one has shared values, goals, and experiences. Find a place to belong…..join a small group. Take a risk on a new friendship. And, by far, the most meaningful relationship, from which one may begin to build a new life is with Christ, living “in Christ”, among others who know the same joy in relationship to Christ.
The sign of the cross is two dimensional. It’s vertical component represents the necessity of our connection to God. It’s horizontal component represents the necessity of our connection to others who are also connected to God. Only living within the dimensions of the cross….”In Christ”….. can we find the connectedness that we need to live fully, faithfully, and joyfully.