Last week we explored loneliness, not only within ourselves but in our nation. We talked about our Surgeon General, Viteck Murthy, who calls loneliness a national health epidemic, sighting that so many of us have been isolated from covid, but also feel the loss of belonging within a community. It turns out our individualism may keep us from joining a church or a club or community organization. Loneliness cannot only eat at our souls, but also our bodies. The Surgeon General says loneliness can be the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. It turns out the soul and the body are connected!
But within our own community of faith, where all are equal and all unconditionally loved, we can own our loneliness, call it for what it is, and admit that in some form or other “we all experience loneliness.” It’s not only OK but encouraged that we ask for that hug, or prayer, or being within the thoughts of another. Equally important, it is important that we be in the “presence” of our community. We are creatures of flesh and blood and being “with” people strengthens us in ways that we often don’t even recognize.
In civil society, we can make one mistake—one illegal mistake—and the repercussions can be unforgiving. But within our sanctuary, we are called as a community to forgive not only seven times, but seven times seventy. Our UNMC sanctuary is a place for radical grace, and this is its uniqueness. This is why it is special, rare, and therefore holy.
Whatever you do, be part of a community.
This Sunday we will explore “The Freedom of Putting Others First”—another radical idea that by the world’s standards makes no sense, until it does.
Have a great week.