Seeing our community enjoy May Days at Memorial Park over the weekend reminded me of a universal truth: we were made to share life in community.
Numerous gatherings like the May Days celebrations, birthday parties, weddings, memorial services, reunions, family dinners, and even the casual hangouts with friends all attest to the fact that we thrive as human beings when we gather together regularly.
Navigating through the pandemic taught us that gatherings cannot be taken for granted. When forced into isolation, we lose the ability to achieve human flourishing. In fact, the bible states that the first time God said something wasn’t good was when Adam lived in isolation. Then he created Eve and created the first human family (community). In other words, we were optimized to live in community. We function optimally when we share life around a meal and journey together through life’s victories and challenges.
A Harvard study on human happiness found that the greatest indicator of happiness in a person’s life was the quality of relationships (community) that a person had. In the bible, God calls us to take gathering with brothers and sisters in Christ seriously: “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Heb. 10:24ff).
If the goal of our community is “to stir up one another to love and good works,” we cannot do so by neglecting to gather. I encourage you to gather regularly as a community and encourage one another in Christ. Isolation is a threat to human flourishing, and regularly meeting together in love and encouragement is life-giving.