Thought for the Week

Rutherglen Reformer - - News from the Pews -

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

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