As human beings, we were created for connection. God made this truth clear from the Garden of Eden when He said, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18).
Many verses remind us that we are never completely alone if we have surrendered our lives to God. His promise to Moses is one of my favorites: “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” (Exodus 33:24). But this doesn’t eliminate our need for human connection.
One of the most frequently used phrases in the New Testament is “one another.” Here are just a few of the “one another’s” in the Epistles.
- Romans 12:10 says we are to “love one another with brotherly affection.”
- 2 Corinthians 13:11 encourages us to “comfort one another.”
- Galatians 6:2 says we are to “bear one another’s burdens.”
- Ephesians 4:32 tells us to “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says we are to “encourage one another and build one another up.”
- Hebrews 10:24 instructs us to “stir up one another to love and good works.”
Without meaningful connection to God and others, our quality of life will diminish. But with the recent changes in our daily lives as we’ve walked through months of social distancing, quarantine and isolation, loneliness has been an even bigger issue for more of us to deal with.
From a physical health standpoint, these are necessary health measures, especially for those of us who are vulnerable because of chronic illness or age. But from a mental health vantage point, they have resulted in increased anxiety and greater loneliness.
I think one of the most difficult things I’ve dealt with since gathering in large groups became unsafe has been the fact that it is currently unsafe to meet in the church building. Our church has gone out of the way to keep us connected, with Sunday morning and Wednesday evening services, plus a variety of other ways for us to “get together” while physically separated.
Our church is big – many thousand members – so connection is an issue our leaders take serious. We have over fifty adult small groups to choose from, which we call iConnect groups, to help us “find the little church inside the big church” as we connect with God and others. Even though we can’t meet in person during this pandemic, our iConnect group has been meeting weekly via ZOOM for fellowship and teaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Social distancing has made it impossible to meet in person right now, but we are still able to find ways to stay connected.
What ways have you found during this COVID-19 pandemic to stay connected? Have you found ways to minister to the needs of “one another” as listed earlier? Remember, the church is made up of people, not buildings. How has this season affected your relationship with the Lord? Your church? Your family? Your friends? Consider these questions in prayer.