During those lockdown months of the pandemic, we had to do some extra work to stay connected with one another. We connected “buddies” with our children. We encouraged folks to reach out to others with cards and phone calls. Some of us invited others for walks and chats outside. It was a struggle! But we muddled our way through.
I’ve been thinking about that extra effort, sometimes successful and sometimes not. I’ve recently read articles and listened to conversations around the epidemic of loneliness in our country. We crave connection, and I wonder if we need to be reminded again of the blessing of slowing down, pausing, asking for help, offering help, pursuing connection and greeting all those around us with the peace of Christ….because we knew how much we all needed it and were in this boat together!
I want to encourage you to pursue connection this month. Introduce yourself to someone new in the congregation and get to know them….even if it feels awkward! This month, our kids, teachers and school workers are returning to school. Send them a card or drop off cookies! Ask parents or teachers if they need any help getting ready for the transition. Call someone you haven’t seen for awhile. Can you connect with one of the elders in our congregation? Can you go through our directory and pray for people? Can you help out at the food pantry? Can you ask for the help you need? Is there someone you can invite to church with you?
And then look around your neighborhood, your job, your grocery store and frequent trails ....are there ways for you to drop seeds of joy? Even if it is as simple as saying a blessing in your mind for someone you see. Are there seeds of joy that others are dropping for you? Receive them.
We’ll have other opportunities for building connection starting next month. Stay tuned for more details! But I invite you to begin today. Let’s keep stretching ourselves to live as the beloved community of Christ.