In their book Next Door As It Is in Heaven, Lance Ford and Brad Briscoe discuss the profound loneliness people are experiencing in our world. They make the point that loneliness often causes us to feel that we have little value. They also point out that we often make things worse by failing to form connections with other people. Sometimes, we tend to be aloof and disconnected from others. We may look past others and just fail to notice or greet others.
Compare this to what Peter Senge noticed among the tribes of northern Natal in South Africa: The most common greeting, equivalent to “hello” in English, is the expression: Sawu bona. It literally means, “I see you.” If you are a member of the tribe, you might reply by saying Sikhona, “I am here.” The order of the exchange is important: until you see me, I do not exist. It’s as if, when you see me, you bring me into existence.
The reality is that if we fail to see people as people, they don’t really exist. Rediscovering the art of greeting each other and welcoming each other will help us move out of our loneliness and our sense of not counting in the world. If we want to avoid a desperate sense of loneliness, we have to be connected to others.
This Sunday is Connect Sunday at BridgeWay. It’s an opportunity to learn more about our Connection Groups and to consider signing up to visit one or more of the groups. If you’re not already in a group, let me strongly urge you to visit the tables in the worship center this Sunday. You’ll have a chance to meet Connection Group leaders and learn more about when and where the groups meet. We encourage every member at BridgeWay to get connected in a group! It’s what God calls you to do as you form relationships with others and it can help you overcome the loneliness that comes from living isolated from others!