Not long after moving to Gorton in the 1990’s I had a conversation with one of our local GP’s. I was shocked when he told me that a large amount of his patients booked in for a weekly 20-minute slot…just so they had someone to talk to that week. The GP told me “Isolation and loneliness are one of the biggest health problems we are facing in East Manchester, if not the UK!” 20 years on I have seen for myself what isolation, neglect and feelings of abandonment does to a person. Sadly, the problem of isolation is a growing concern. Statistics tell us that loneliness is likely to increase our risk of death by 26%, is worse for our health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day or obesity. Loneliness and isolation put people at greater risk of heart disease, strokes and dementia. * Human beings were not created to be alone…we need to be in community or we begin to perish. Being part of community helps us thrive!!
When you’re alone you don’t have anyone to motivate you, encourage you, challenge you, help you, support you, love you or tell you how valuable you are. When you are alone you don’t have anyone YOU can motivate, encourage, challenge, help, support, love or tell someone how valuable THEY are.
We were created to be together and the evidence for this is found in the Christmas story! Matthew 1 verse 23 tells us:
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means ‘God is with us.’”
Right at the heart of the gospel message we are told that God has not abandoned us, that He loves us. He wants to motivate us, encourage us, challenge us, help us, support us, love us and tell us how valuable we are to Him. Right at the heart of the Christmas story we see God loving the world by sending His only son to the earth, so we don’t have to perish but thrive! What blows my mind about Jesus is He has no favourites – we are all particularly special to Him. No favourites – He loves the young, the old, those who have much and those who have little, those of every colour and culture. He made us all. This is why Oasis is here – to love those who feel unloved, to cherish the broken hearted, to stand in the gap for those without a voice, to let people know how valuable they are. To simply be a loving family to everyone who walks through our doors!
Merry Christmas and thank you once again for helping Oasis love our community well.