Do you need a healthy dose of religion? A study reported in the Health and Medicine section of the Harvard Gazette says so. It states that regularly attending religious services is associated with lower risk of deaths of despair.
The study authors noted that religious participation may serve as an important antidote to despair and an asset for sustaining a sense of hope and meaning. They wrote that religion may be associated with strengthened psychosocial resilience by fostering a sense of peace and positive outlook and promoting social connectedness.
The study simply affirms what committed Christians already know—God created us for compassionate community. It’s why in Hebrews 10:24–25 it says: “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.”
Adam Carrington offers three reasons why Christians gathering in community is important.
First, without the community of the church, we lack full communion with God. Christ reveals his presence when we gather in his name (Matthew 18:20). We experience Christ more fully when together we worship, serve, fellowship.
Second, without the community of the church, we miss out on deepening in a fuller knowledge of God that can be experienced only when we learn from one another (Acts 2:42). We grow in our faith when we grow together.
Third, without the community of the church, we lose a sense of authentic, restored human community. When Christ restores our relationship with him, he restores our relationships to each other as members of his body, the church. We are now to serve those in need together as we serve our Lord (Matthew 25:40).
Bottom line—a spiritually and emotionally healthy church community in gathering together encourages those in despair with the hope that sustains starving souls.