I don’t know about you but I’m excited about a new year. I’m praying, hoping, and believing that 2021 will be a much better year for people than 2020. I do believe 2020 brought many lessons with it. One of those lessons I hope people learned is that we need others, and that being together is a blessing. There are so many things that we all had taken for granted before 2020. I wait with an eager expectation for many of those things to return. We were not created for isolation, but rather for relationships. I am looking forward to the road ahead of us hoping that we all will be together in the places that we enjoy again soon.
We also learned that being apart isn’t easy. I personally haven’t seen my parents since October of 2019. It’s the first time in my entire life that I haven’t been able to hug them in over a year. I hate separation for many reasons, but also because I know the devil loves separation. He loves to keep us separated from God, one another, the people that can help us, and separated from peace and salvation. The enemy loves separation!
Throughout this virus we have found out that there is another side of the coin of isolation and separation. A recent study shows that Americans are at a 20 year low for mental health! Many adults are also reporting specific negative impacts on their mental health and well-being, such as difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%), due to worry and stress from the impact of separation. Depression is up! Anxiety is up! Suicide is up! Alcoholism is up 20 percent! Divorce is up! Drug abuse is increasingly up! Child abuse is up! Poverty is up! Unemployment is increasingly up! Small businesses that are closing are up! Sexual abuse is up. Physical abuse is up! These are just some of the side effects from isolation and separation.
Now please understand that being together isn’t always easy. As a matter of fact, being together with others can often be a challenge. However, we see in the Bible that in Heaven God’s ultimate will for His people is to be together worshipping Him. We learn that God’s will on Earth is the same as His will in Heaven as Jesus spoke in the Lord’s prayer. Since Christianity began believers have made it a priority to come together. There is power togetherness and community. Jesus taught His followers to come together to worship, pray, remember Him, and to practice their faith together.
Throughout the New Testament the Church is often referred to as a “body” which is not a disconnected body, but rather a body that is devoted to work “together” as one. You may think Christianity is just about your relationship between you and God, but the Bible teaches us that true Christianity is much more than that. You are part of a spiritual body, and you have a responsibility and a reason to be active and participate with the other parts of the body of Christ that we often call the “Church.” Any true student of the Bible can see this clearly from the Book of Acts on throughout the entire New Testament!
We read throughout scripture and clearly see in history that even in times where death was “always” the risk believers came together as one to worship, to give, to remember Christ, and to practice their faith as one body. They knew that Jesus taught that His church was bigger than one person, and that Jesus taught that His people were to be part of something greater than themselves. Simply put there are spiritual benefits of being together and spiritual side effects from being apart.
This Sunday at South Side we will start our new series entitled “Together.” Worship begins at 10:15, and our Children’s Ministry offers children’s classes for all ages. We are continuing to practice social distancing at our services. We offer a church drive-thru experience from 10:30-11:00. If you do not attend our online services will be available at 3 on Facebook and our website. If you would like to give generously text: 84321 then the word “help” and follow the simple instructions. We would love to have your family worship with us! For more information visit us on our website at: www.southsidewch.com or on Facebook.
South Side Church of Christ