All the lonely people

January 26, 2018 · Print This Article

On the day the government appointed a minister to tackle loneliness Chris Hinds, managing director at Saatchi PR consultancy, cheekily tweeted ‘Can’t work out why the government have only appointed one minister for loneliness.’ It was an amusing tweet, but loneliness is no joke for the estimated 9 million adults in the UK who are lonely. Prime Minister Theresa May, acting on a recommendation from the Jo Cox commission, said that ‘isolation is a sad reality of modern life for too many people.’ Recent studies have shown that loneliness affects people as diverse as the elderly, new mothers, young disabled adults and refugees. The UK has never been so populous and yet people have never felt so lonely. King David’s words in Psalm 68:5-6 (NIV) have never been more pertinent: ‘A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…’

The Christian church is God’s family, and is in a unique position to offer a healthy community that can help alleviate loneliness; it is, therefore, incumbent on all Christians to be welcoming and inclusive. Loving relationships are the antidote to loneliness; the more Christians are warm, friendly, and hospitable, offering a safe haven from the world, the more loneliness will be eased. The Beatles song ‘Eleanor Rigby’ implores us to ‘look at all the lonely people,’ and asks ‘where do they all belong?’ The answer is they belong in God’s family. Can we, the church, look for the lonely people and welcome them in? It’s becoming increasingly critical that we do.

Barry Robinson

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