The new comedy series Selfie shows the loneliness that occurs when we try living too much on social media without good, face-to-face relationships. Because it’s on television, the show is pretty much unlike real life. But in today’s world, we must work harder on spending time with one another than in previous generations.
Most all religions call for worshippers to worship together. Friday prayers in Islam, Saturday prayers in Judaism, and Sunday prayers in Christianity are joined by all manner of worship from all sorts and varieties of people. While we all have our own beliefs and usually say our own prayers, almost all people of faith face in the same direction and worship together at least on occasion.
In the Christian faith, we are called to live in communion with one another as we are made members of Christ’s Body. Christ said in St. John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” The Christian model for loving each other is the self-sacrificial love Christ showed us on the Cross. As Christians are those who follow Christ and are joined in him, so we ought to show each other love as he taught us, both in words and action.
In addition to worshipping together, most religious and many secular societies work for good in the world by building lovely things and combatting wicked things. Elks provide scholarships, neighborhood garden clubs plant flowers at their entrances, and support groups help members through difficult times. These all add to the goodness and happiness of people in the world in their various ways.
Moreover, people directly relate to one another, whether they be friends meeting over a cup of coffee, a loud family dinner, or coffee hour after Mass. When friends speak a word of love to another after a family death or strangers stop to render assistance in distress, we serve each other out of our shared bond of humanity.
Whether we worship facing the same direction, apparently looking at each other’s backs but truly facing our God together, or whether we work side-by-side on behalf of others, or whether we enjoy each other face-to-face, we are spending our time together to build and not destroy, to love and not hate, to enjoy and not harm.
We benefit from joining with others to build, love, and enjoy in God’s good creation. We are built by our creator to be with one another.
We should not be too surprised when we find ourselves happier and holier having been together than we were alone.
Each of us has a different threshold for needing the company of others and for being alone. But each of us needs others sometimes. That is simply how we are made.
THE REV. JEFFERSON OTWELL IS THE RECTOR AT ST. LUKE ANGLICAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN AUGUSTA.