I could keep on going but the picture is clear. While it is important to have a personal faith, the real significant improvements to one’s over-all health come from actively participating in that faith as part of a community. The more one is involved with others in the faith community, the greater the positive effect on one’s health, the quality of their life and even the length of their life.
From these relationships that have been found in study after study, it is no surprise than that as our nation’s church and temple attendance has dramatically declined from its peak in the late 1960s down to about 20 percent today that there has been as dramatic a rise in our nation’s health care costs, to say nothing of the anxiety level in the country.
We struggle in life to take control over what negatively impacts us — here is a clear place where we have direct control over improving our lives and contributing to the national good. For not only would we reduce medical costs all around, but we would benefit from being in church ourselves, and those sitting with us also benefit from our presence. When we volunteer and get involved in bringing our faith into the world outside our church, we benefit even more and so do those we come in contact with. This is the win-win-win relationship God calls us to in life.
See you in your church or your temple, and be healthy.
The Rev. William Main is interim minister at Union Congregational Church of Amesbury.