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2nd December - Single people

And he replied, 'Who are my mother and my brothers?' And looking at those who sat around him, he said, 'Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.'

Mark 3:33-35

Do a Google search under 'single people' and you will find a list of internet dating sites; investigate that attractive travel offer or holiday deal and you will discover that it is 'based on two people sharing' and carries a hefty 'single room supplement'; go out to a restaurant and you're likely to be offered a table tucked away in a corner, ignored by waiters scurrying past; go to church and you may have to settle for the ubiquitous 'family worship'! For single people used to their own company and without close family commitments the world can often seem a very couple-orientated place, determined to label them as lonely social outcasts who do not fit into the prevailing scheme of things. Some people who find themselves single through force of circumstances (the widowed, for example) are indeed often lonely and isolated, and need companionship and support; others no doubt find that too much solitude makes for continual anxiety and self-questioning; but there are many who are at ease in their single state, valuing the freedom and independence to lead their own lives as they wish. To some this may seem selfish, but far from it: released from family ties, single people are often the ones who have the time and space to give freely to their communities and to the rest of society.

Written by a regular churchgoer from the diocese of Durham, who has chosen to remain anonymous

Daily prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, who knew both the joys and the pains of solitude, we thank you for the gifts which single people bring to those around them; and we pray especially for any who feel lonely or anxious, that you will help them to be at ease with themselves and find fulfilment in serving others.

Amen

Lord, in this time of Advent open our hearts to those who feel excluded from Your church.
Help us draw in those on the margins and place them in the centre of our family.

Amen