So where does all of this leave us? It leaves us with a lot of lonely persons in our church, that's where.
And the trouble with lonely persons in a church is that they don't feel connected to anything, and when they don't feel connected to anything, they don't feel committed to anything, and that's when they start to leave.
They go and find another church. They go and find another pew to occupy. They go and find another box to put a few dollars into every week. They go searching for connection, and if they're lucky, they find it, but the truth is that loneliness is an epidemic in far too many of our churches - probably in more of them than it's not a problem in.
And after you go and feel lonely in two or three or four churches, you start to very reasonably ask what the point is any more. Then, you disengage entirely from what God told us all along was a faith of one anothering, a faith of togetherness.
And you just can't do this Christian life alone.
Have you ever had this happen? You look around your church one Sunday morning for that person that you really want to talk to, feeling like it's been a bit too long since you've spoken to them, and when you look around, they aren't there. When you ask around, no one seems to know. Then, that one guy (that one guy who knows everybody) says, "Oh, her? She hasn't been here for months."
There are persons walking out of our churches and not walking back in and it takes months for us to miss them, if we even notice at all that they aren't there. (Usually, we notice they aren't there when we have a need for them to fill - something they've always done, whether it's build a certain kind of prop for summer VBS or have a conversation about a topic you've conversed about before.)
This is why so many are so comfortable with the idea of church hopping and church shopping. They aren't committed to their church because they aren't connected there, and if they aren't connected, their church usually isn't very committed to them, either. It doesn't occur to them that their departure feels like pulling a thread out of a beautiful tapestry because they don't feel like they were woven in in the first place.
Do you realize how many stray threads we have walking around out there? In here? It's heartbreaking.
Church, we have to do better. We cannot go on like this. We cannot let persons, brothers and sisters, continue to walk through our doors and be lonelier inside our walls than they were outside of them. We cannot let one another come side by side and yet, still apart. We have to do together better.
After all, as one of my favorite preachers likes to say, we're all just walking each other home.
So let's do that.