Pastor’s Corner – May 7, 2023

Recently I came across a study on the decline of life expectancy in the US. While globally there was a dip due to Covid, comparable industrial nations as the US have overall made a comeback pre pandemic. However, the alarming trend in the US is that there is a continuing decline in life expectancy. What the researchers have noticed is that among the contributing factors to this trend is the rising death of young people by suicide, drug related death and gun violence. 

The month of May is mental health awareness month. I believe when we consider mental health issues, we need to broaden the scope to include the fragmentation of community and the isolation and loneliness that leads to despair. As human beings we are hardwired to connect, to belong, and to feel that we are not alone. This is basic spiritual hunger, the need to belong hasn’t changed and when we feel we belong to a community or a place we are able to create meaning in our lives. Younger generations are increasingly feeling isolated even with all kinds of digital online platforms that are supposed to connect you to the wider world, it has the opposite effect. There is no real direct human connection. We text each other; God forbid we actually call someone! 

In our gospel reading for this coming Sunday, (John 14:1-14) we learn something about belonging to one another. Jesus said to his disciples that he will go and prepare a place for them so that they may be where he is. The disciples are confused about where Jesus is going or the location where Jesus might be. Jesus reminds them that he is the way, the truth and the life. To be with Christ is to follow his way, his truth and his life! We belong to him and will be cared for by him. This is the promise Jesus makes to his disciples. The question I want to ponder with you this coming Sunday: What does it mean to create space for real connections where people may feel they belong? When we speak of connections, shared values, meaning, where we feel fully alive as human beings, how can our faith community provide such space, hospitality that will fill spiritual hunger in our world? 

Pastor Dae