Where is the happiest place on earth?

Where is the happiest place on earth? Church!  What gives us the most happiness and meaning? Church!  No, really: it's been scientifically proven!


The Washington Post recently crunched the numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' American Time Use Survey.  And they found that "places of worship" rated the highest of anywhere for happiness and meaning.  That's right, we are (on average) happiest at our place of worship than at a restaurant or bar, out walking, at school, or in our own homes.  (That's right folks: we're significantly happier when at church, than when we're at home!)


They also found that "religious and spiritual activities" brought people the most happiness of anything!  Americans were happier doing "religious and spiritual activities" than "eating and drinking", shopping, traveling, volunteering or relaxing!  We also found more meaning doing spiritual activities than anything else, although caring for others and volunteering came close.


So what is it about "religious activities" and "places of worship" that bring us so much happiness and meaning?  I can only guess, of course, but perhaps it's because in engaging with our church (or synagogue or temple or mosque or meditation center), we encounter what is ultimate, and we do so in community.  Church elevates our heart and mind, and connects us to others.  When we come to West Parish, we find an affirmation of our belovedness, a space for our grief, a time for celebration, a reminder of life's vast and mysterious beauty.  And we are welcomed, known and loved.


So perhaps West Parish is the "happiest place on earth" for you! And perhaps there are folks out there who are in desperate need of what West Parish can offer.  And perhaps, in seeing that happiness and meaning are found in our faith communities even more than in our homes, work, school, travel, or shopping, we might seek to re-prioritize our time and attention.


What we do matters.  Thanks be to God for the gift and responsibility of being the church!