The summer can often be a time to reacquaint ourselves with old friends along with making new ones. With the longer and milder days, it’s also a season of weddings, BBQs, gardening and perhaps a holiday, which can be a great chance to gather with others – or escape of course!
However, I’ve been struck by recent reports about the epidemic of loneliness, which can affect our health. Whilst it may be grabbing headlines at the moment, it’s nothing new, as many of us will know through our own experience, or of those whom we know, love, and live alongside. It is most often highlighted among older people, but a recent study undertaken by Kings College London highlighted just how prevalent it is for young adults, regardless of gender or socio-economic background. Their findings reported that young people who are more likely to have a negative view of where they live had a greater sense of isolation, irrespective of whether they came from rural or urban areas, wealthy areas or deprived ones. Loneliness can affect us all no matter our age, where we live or how we live.
As Christians we are just about to mark the festival of Pentecost, which saw the birth of a new worldwide community as the message of Christ’s resurrection was shared by St Peter and the disciples. Community is at the heart of what it is for me to be a person of faith, and so welcome and hospitality are inextricably linked to it. Words from St Matthew’s gospel, ‘for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me’, are as important now as they were 2,000 years ago when that new community was born.
Who is it in your midst that thirsts for company, that hungers for a chat, and longs to be welcomed? A neighbour perhaps, or an old friend? A work colleague … or is it you? If it is you, may you know friendship and companionship this season as we enjoy the summer in our community, and if you fancy a cuppa and a chat, do get in touch.
Much love Becca