It seems that almost daily we hear about various kinds of disasters around the globe. It’s of course more challenging when we experience personal disasters, when our own world might seem to end or be severely challenged–with a health crisis, the loss of a loved one, the disintegration of a marriage or other relationship, the loss of house or income. These are things that really test us–areas of our life that need redemption and healing.

Healing and new life, as impossible as it might seem at times, can happen, but we can’t do it completely on our own. We need the power and presence of God to show us the way. And sometimes the power and presence of God comes to us through caring individuals.

Our collective mental health is in trouble. We’re becoming more isolated under the notion of self-care and individual freedoms, which gives us the permission to disconnect from others. That includes disconnecting from a sense of moral responsibility for the whole of society, for the common good. We are relational creatures, and we need personal connections to survive and to thrive. We ignore this at great risk to our personal and collective health.

Our faith tells us that we are all connected as the Body of Christ. The challenge is to live that way. What makes things more difficult is that so many people have stopped connecting with institutions that stress unity and moral responsibility and working for the common good, such as churches and civic organizations. The American myth of rugged individualism taken to its extreme leads to a fragmentation of society, where only the wealthy and well-connected can thrive, and everyone is left to fend for themselves. We can and need to do better. Our faith demands it.

“Now you are the Body of Christ and individually members of it.” (I Corinthians 12:27)

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