Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sun. June 10, 2012 (Henry Neufeld)

Henry Neufeld spoke on "Loneliness".  Some suggest that our society's greatest problem is loneliness.  Social networking, such as Facebook, can help people connect with each other in remote ways, but in fact many of those "relationships" are artificial, superficial, and can even lead to making one more lonely.  Being 'connected' through that type of technology is not the same as creating a deep bond with someone face to face.  Sixty years ago, 1/10th of our households consisted of one person; now this has risen to 1/3rd.  Even monastic solitude involved regular meetings with other monks.  Loneliness can be particularly acute for elderly individuals, as friends pass away and families move to find work or become busy.  When teenagers say they are bored, it is at times a sign that they are lonely.  Solitude is often voluntary, but loneliness is often forced on us.  Mother Theresa's diaries reveal that even though she was surrounded by people, she was intensely lonely, sometimes even wondering whether God was with her.  Jesus at times took friends with him instead of being alone (Mount of Transfiguration, Garden of Gethsemane).  The early church realized that believers needed to cooperate and be friends if the house groups were to survive. Hutterites, one of the few Christian groups to practice living cooperatively, often treasure being surrounded by close friends.  Henry suggested that our MCC Thrift Stores consider creating coffee corners for the customers, some of whom enter the store because they are lonely.  Could local pastors give half a day a week to sitting and listening in those places?  That is the model used by the Food Bank at Sherbrook Mennonite Church.  If our churches created a strategy for addressing loneliness, what would it look like? [JEK]

Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, June 10th, 2012 using your browser's preferred media player.



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