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Every member belongs to the whole

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an 82 page report titled, "Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation."  In the introduction, Dr. Vivek Murthy wrote:

 

"Loneliness is far more than just a bad feeling—it harms both individual and societal health.  It is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death.  The mortality impact of being socially disconnected is similar to that caused by smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, and even greater than that associated with obesity and physical inactivity... Given the profound consequences of loneliness and isolation, we have an opportunity, and an obligation, to make the same investments in addressing social connection that we have made in addressing tobacco use, obesity, and the addiction crisis.  This Surgeon General’s Advisory shows us how to build more connected lives and a more connected society.  If we fail to do so, we will pay an ever-increasing price in the form of our individual and collective health and well-being.  And we will continue to splinter and divide until we can no longer stand as a community or a country. Instead of coming together to take on the great challenges before us, we will further retreat to our corners—angry, sick, and alone."

 

Yikes.  The image of us "retreating to our corners- angry, sick and alone" is chilling, and yet we see so much of that anger and division already.  Being disconnected from one another has profound consequences.

 

Churches might be one of the very last places in our society where anyone can show up, and find themselves connected to an intergenerational community where love and belonging are core values.  What we do as a church when we include, reach out, invite, welcome, gather and listen is nothing short of miraculous and life-giving.  We are the body of Christ!  Every member belongs to the whole!  Let's not take for granted the profound importance of who we are and what we do!