Thought for the Week
Last month it was reported that the UK Government had appointed a minister for loneliness.
My first, facetious thought was “aw, just one? Surely better a team of ministers?” But there is a serious issue here - government estimates suggest nine million people in the UK are lonely.
It affects so many people, whether elderly, young, single, married, working, retired or unemployed.
When God made the world, and put humankind into it, the Bible tells us he said, “it is good”.
But then he went on to say: “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18).
That passage is applied to marriage, but it goes wider than that because we were made for relationships, community, family and friends; for sharing, support and encouragement.
These are not things governments can provide – they are down to us – and in a society where we do not know our neighbours, stand silently in queues, and increasingly virtually communicate with fake friends on Facebook, we so often fail.
I am glad Stonelaw Church is open every morning for anyone to drop in for coffee.
You do not have to be a member, or even a believer, to be welcome.
I am glad that churches, and other faith and community groups, often offer such invitations. But it does need to start with each one of us.
Strike up a conversation at a bus stop, meet an old friend for coffee, take the time to talk to a neighbour, pick up a phone, ask a colleague “how are you today?” and listen to the response.
You never know when you might be the first person they have spoken to that day, and suddenly they, and you, are not alone.
You and I too can be ministers to loneliness. Rev Alistair May Stonelaw Parish Church