Human beings are designed for companionship. It is not good for us to be alone too much, but as our ageing and fractured society goes on it seems that far too many experience deep loneliness. Within the body of Christs church this need not be a significant feature of a life of wellbeing.Jesus and his companions went about in groups and pairs, Paul took companions with him on his journeys, and the model for faith journeys we find in the scriptures is one of relationship. Those two disciples heading for Emmaus were sharing together probably both their theological understanding and their emotional response to what had been happening.
Spiritual companionship is essential for our wellbeing and Shalom. No one model fits everyone, but we need to be journeying and reflecting together if we are to experience something that alleviates the distress of loneliness.Perhaps we could be part of a small group of believers meeting to pray and study together, or pairing as prayer partners, or with a more formal spiritual companion/soul friend relationship, the opportunity to have someone with whom to journey and share reflection. Some churches have even introduced the possibility of speaking together during sermons to earth what they hear.
For clergy a recent development is the growth of pastoral supervision where walking alongside another to reflect on ministry and its personal impact in relationship is focal. Those who have encountered this movement value it enormously, (it is not a hierarchical relationship in any sense). We plan to introduce this to the Diocese much more widely in the coming months.
For wellbeing to develop, we need begin with only one change to established patterns. I encourage you to reflect on whom you travel with on your spiritual path. To whom could you extend the invitation to go on with together- sharing, learning and being prayerful?