by Nick Bishop
We bring before you, all those affected by loneliness as a result of the COVID pandemic.
We ask that you might make those near be aware of their situation. Please remind all to regularly reach out to those who are lonely and see how they are doing.
This was a prayer taken from Premier Christianity regarding loneliness. However, in light of a government report on loneliness and the prayer mentioned above in Premier Christianity, I thought it apt, that I should highlight it again.
An article was written by the Christian charity, Linking Lives says that churches are on the front line in combatting loneliness. The charity welcomes the government report into loneliness, written by a group of MPs and Peers, which highlighted the need for more safe and welcoming areas for the lonely; especially now as we ease out of lockdown, according to Boris’ so-called ‘Roadmap to Freedom’.
User-friendly areas like greens spaces, benches, public toilets and better local bus services, are just some of the things mentioned in this report. The report goes on to say that these and other amenities are needed to re-connect the lonely with the community and that the government should encourage people to socialise (as long as COVID safety rules are met).
According to a recent survey, 35% said they feel less connected to the community than previously, because of COVID. 39% said that even when all restrictions are eased (God willing), and even after meeting with others, they will still have a residue of loneliness. This is the sad fact of how COVID and the subsequent lockdowns have made people feel.
Linking Lives UK has also said it would like more funding by the government to local grassroots groups that address the issues of the lonely. The National Director of Linking Lives UK, Jeremy Sharpe, stated that his organisation has always tackled the ills of loneliness. But with the appearance of COVID and lockdown after lockdown, loneliness has grown exponentially.
Mr Sharpe made no bones about how dear the subject of loneliness, is to him. And whilst welcoming the report, Mr Sharpe said that it was a shame that it takes a pandemic to highlight the blight of loneliness.
A government spokesman said, “The impact of COVID-19 is being felt across the country but the government is leading the way in tackling loneliness”. According to the government spokesman, “The government has given £31.5 million to groups tackling loneliness and a further £40 million in tackling mental health” (brought on by loneliness and isolation), adding that “Loneliness remains a priority for the government”. It is good that the government is contributing allocated money to loneliness; however, let us hope the money is going to those who need it.
As Christians, it is our God-given duty to look out for the lost, isolated and lonely. We can do that as aforementioned charities, churches or indeed on an individual basis. Loneliness covers a wide range of problems from being alienated in the world, feeling lonely in a crowd, or someone living on their own.
The excellent website, ‘GotQuestions.org, speaks of the fellowship of Christ as an essential ingredient to tackle loneliness:
“Whatever the cause of loneliness, for the Christian the cure is always the same-the comforting fellowship of Christ. That loving relationship with our Master has reassured and encouraged countless thousands who languished in prisons and even went to their deaths for his sake. He is the friend who “sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24), who lays down his life for his friends (John 15:13-15), and who has promised to never leave or forsake us but to be with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). We can take comfort in the words of the old hymn that says it best: “Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He is with me to the end. Hallelujah, what a saviour!”.
Finally, I will close with scripture:
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds”.
“I will not leave you alone, I will come to you”.
“Teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age”.
God bless you,
September 10, 2021
August 14, 2021