As the days get shorter and the weather starts to turn cold and miserable, people tend to stay in rather than go out. Many are still concerned about viruses around us and are reluctant to be in places with too many people. Older people especially find it difficult to get around with all the challenges we face as we get older. Many of us have become used to being alone more due to the COVID-19 virus, and its lockdowns. Many have had no choice but to stay inside to protect themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. The result of this isolation has led to many people losing the sense of community they once had.
Recently, I attended a small gathering at a local church and the purpose of the gathering was to hold a ticket draw as a fundraiser. The ticket draw took place on a Saturday morning. Tea, coffee, sandwiches and cookies were served to those who came for the ticket draw. The gathering was about 15 people. These people came for a couple of hours. We all sat around a table chatting and laughing, sharing stories from the week and reminiscing about those who were missing from the last ticket draw.
For two hours, young and old spent time together. Some fantasized about what they would do if they won. Some spoke about children and grandchildren while others discussed the weather. No subject seemed out of place and yet nothing in particular was discussed. It was just a gathering of people to verify the ticket draw. Yet, during those two hours, something spectacular happened!
This small gathering was a great example of fellowship! That Saturday morning lifted my spirits for quite some time after the gathering was over. Although the following week was a challenge for me, I found myself thinking of that morning with those dedicated parishioners. The friendship I felt from those people and the sense of community was so powerful. I really didn’t expect a ticket draw to have any lasting effect on me, but it did. I realized that it was the coming together of people which affected me the most!
This small church gathering provided the fellowship that many have been missing. At one time, going to the church for an evening or afternoon, may have been the only entertainment provided in many communities but as time as gone on, these church activities have become fewer and fewer. Without church activities, community fellowship opportunities have become fewer and fewer. People, even church members, no longer have that sense of community and therefore, people feel less and less connected to those around them.
Our Lord and Saviour promised us “where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.” Jesus wants us to come together and spend time with each other. He doesn’t necessarily want us to only do this in a formal church service every Sunday. Jesus wants us to use every opportunity to come together as a community, so we all feel a part of his glorious presence!
Our world seems to promote our differences these days but as Christians, Jesus reminds us that being his followers, we should focus coming together in fellowship instead of separating and being alone.
God Bless you all.