"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." - Matthew 18:20
It stinks to be single in a couple's universe. When your couple pals are not ignoring you for their paired-up parties, they're trying to fix you up with someone they would never have dated themselves. In the media, when singles get attention, it's for living wild, sexually chaotic lives, which is mostly done for the entertainment value of couples who enjoy watching such things on TV. And what's that about?
In the movie, "The Lobster," single guests at a cold, stony, ocean resort are given 45 days to find that special someone before they get turned into the animal of their choice, for example, a lobster. And here's the kicker. They all signed up willingly for this! In this imaginary world, they believe you need to share a "common characteristic" with another human to be a couple. So one man literally bangs his head and nose until they bleed to prepare for every date he has with his "soulmate" who happens to suffer from nosebleeds. Brutal? Yes. But is it so different from how desperate people can be when they want to connect, in a couple-focused world?
Church should be a respite from all that. After all, we follow a savior who was single himself. And when Jesus did talk about families, it wasn't a glowing endorsement. He focused more on community than couples. But would you know any of that from attending the average church service?
Next time you go, check the signals you get at church. Would the main character from the Lobster find any comfort there? Or would he leave church feeling so lonely that life as a lobster looks good?
Jesus, you have promised that whoever we gather with, you will be with us, and that, with you, we will never really be alone. Amen.
Lillian Daniel's new book Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don't Belong To: Spirituality without Stereotypes, Religion without Ranting is now available for purchase, but you can hear it all for free at 1st Congregational Church of Dubuque, Iowa.