Contrary to the image in the Beatles’ song “Eleanor Rigby,” implying that church people are lonely, the opposite is usually the case. In fact, there are brothers and sisters all over the world in Christ, from all sorts of tribes and tongues.
I’ve seen this first hand in marrying a woman from another country---Norway, in her home church, in a bilingual service. (We said, “Ja, I do.”) She and her family are all in Christ. When I first met her, our Christian faith was the starting point of our relationship. Before we became family through marriage, despite the language barriers, we were already family.
My daughter has found the same thing. She married a Christian whose family left Egypt in the early 1990s, knowing that their sons (one of whom is now my son-in-law) would have no future as persecuted Christians under a Muslim majority there. His family and mine are one in Christ.
I know sometimes people can go to church and may experience an unfriendly situation. But it’s like anything in life: What you get out often tends to correlate with what you put in.
Some people might attend a church just on Sunday morning but not get involved in other ways. They are still better off than if they didn’t attend at all. But better yet is to plug in. To find some avenue of service to others, to be a part of an accountability group. For example, joining a weekly Bible study with friends can be a real life-changer and can help overcome loneliness.
To have a friend, be a friend. As Jesus put it, treat others as you would want to be treated. Applying that statement alone helps explain how active churchgoing can lead to longer life.
When the Bible says we should not forsake “assembling” with each other, who knew that such a command was good for our health as well?