In the Beatles song Elanor Rigby, it states, “All the lonely people Where do they all come from? All the lonely people Where do they all belong?” With billions of people in the world why are there so many lonely people?
You’d think someone should be able to figure out a system where no one is lonely. I ran across an article where in the United Kingdom this past year, Loneliness has reached such epidemic proportions that the Prime Minister Teresa May has literally appointed a minister for loneliness to the cabinet of the United Kingdom.
In our own country, the former US Surgeon General just wrote an article titled, "Work and the Loneliness Epidemic." He writes that the most common pathology he saw as a doctor was not heart disease or diabetes or cancer. It was loneliness, just people alone. He says, it has more than doubled since the 1980s that well over 40 percent of Americans report suffering from loneliness at significant levels, and experts expect the actual total is considerably higher because people are just reluctant to say, 'I feel lonely.'"
More than ever, people live apart from family or apart from friends. With billions of people in the world, someone should be able to figure out a system where no one is lonely, and somebody did.
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
Not that you cannot argue with anybody, not that you're so smart... Just love. God's aim in human history is the creation of an all-inclusive community of loving persons with himself included as its primary sustainer. With billions of people in the world somebody ought to come up with a system where nobody is lonely, and somebody did, and it's called the church.
Many people, when they hear the word church, think of a place you go or a service you attend, but Jesus had much, much, much, much more than that in mind. Not a biological family but a spiritual family, a literal family. One time he was told his mom and his brothers were looking for him, and this was his response. "'Who are my mother and my brothers? 'he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers!'"
Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother. "Jesus came simply to start a family, God's family. Everybody is welcome. Nobody is perfect. Anything is possible. God wants everybody to be part of his family. He aches for it. Jesus died for that. That's what we are. That's what we're called to be.
This is a new way of life and a new kind of community. It's a family. This will change how people think about church. Often in our day, people will point to a building and say, "That is my church." Nobody ever points to a building and says, "That's my family." It might be a house where my family lives, but my family is people. Jesus never told anyone, "Go to church." He said, "Follow me, and you'll be part of my family.