I’m pretty certain that God made us to be social (and I’m not just saying that because I’m an extrovert!). This is something that has really struck me in the last week. We need each other.
During the week I have been working with a single mother who called me in tears because she simply had nobody to talk to. To have no friends to share with is an experience I can’t even imagine but the situation is not uncommon in society today. People have become isolated. For many of the families I work with professionals are the only people they interact with. You could say: “well why don’t they get out there and make some friends?” but that is so much easier said than done. No wonder there is so much depression in our society.
The woman who called me is a member of a church but could not name a single person from the church who she would feel comfortable speaking with about the ‘ups and downs’ of her current situation. What has happened to Christian community? Many churches that I interact with in my work are able to respond to requests for help in a practical sense (providing food, etc) but it seems to be so much harder to find a person in their congregation who will just keep an isolated person company and take the time to listen to their story. Christ does not necessarily ask us to ‘like’ people in our community but He does ask us to love them.
This week has left me asking myself: Do I take time to weep with those who are weeping and rejoice with those who are rejoicing (even and especially when I have something else I would rather be doing)?
I believe that this has been one of the real blessings which has come out of the tragedy of the Christchurch earthquakes. Cantabrians are really getting to know their neighbours and support each other not only in a practical way but in a way that acknowledges each other’s experiences and listens to the stories. I’m sure there are many out there who will be simply needing someone to talk to.
This year ‘Neighbours Day Aotearoa’ is 26-27 March. I think this is a great idea to start living out the commandment of loving one’s neighbour as oneself.
Everyone in Christchurch be assured of my prayers.