Social distancing is a strange new phenomenon. With seemingly every other crisis or disaster, unity and togetherness are the results. But our Coronavirus pandemic has changed this, calling for insulation and isolation, separation and seclusion, hunkering and hiding.
Although there is every good reason for this, it seems the adopted term “social distancing” gives the wrong idea. What is needed now is physical distancing AND social connectedness. And, therein lies the challenge.
A quick word search on biblegateway.com paints the picture: there are 339 ESV verses that have the English word “together”. Although not all speak of our connectedness (or the need for that), many do. For example:
“Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!” (Psalm 34:3)
“Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, ‘We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel.’” (Ruth 4:11)
“And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:5)
“And 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, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)
“That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ.” (Colossians 2:2)
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5-6)
So, our challenge is how to keep physical distance while maintaining social connectedness. We are blessed to live in a technological time that provides many means for this: phones, email, video conferencing, and social media. The difficult part is how to make these media more personal. Your church will continue to work at that, providing online services, weekly updates, and prayer meetings. That can help, but we each need to do our part. Connect with your neighbors, connect with your extended family, connect with those who feel disconnected. Likely we will never have as much “downtime” again in our lives. Rather than endure this season, let’s redeem it and make the most of the opportunity before us.
If you are looking for ways to assist with the care of and for the people of Fourth, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can help connect you to others.