Loneliness

When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. "Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?" He said to him, " 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22: 34-40 (NRSV)


Social media has captivated our world. The Internet and wireless communications have created unprecedented global interaction. But in spite of this connection, our society is experiencing a surge of loneliness.

In response to this loneliness, there are now programs in large metropolitan areas to encourage socializing. The U.K. even has a "Minister for Loneliness" to combat social isolation and reduce associated health risks. These are new public strategies to battle loneliness, but what is my personal strategy as a Christian? Beverly Taylor, who lives in Arizona, asked herself this question.

The obvious one is to love my neighbor as myself. Jesus told us that the greatest commandments are to love God and love others. But this law of love often illuminates Beverly's shortcomings. In stores, doctors' offices, her neighborhood, or other public places, Beverly can easily become self-absorbed and oblivious to those around her - sometimes while on her cell phone. Instead of connecting with those who physically cross her path, Beverly becomes captivated by virtual connections. She now prays for help to be present in the moment and attentively greet the people around her Our individual efforts to live Jesus' commandment and ease loneliness in our world can feel insignificant. But when Christians truly seek to love God and love others, we can make a real difference.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, help us to live your commandment to love you and to love others, in Jesus' name. Amen.


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