Here we are in a time of unparalleled social disruption. As a people we have been through incredibly difficult times in the past. September 11th, 2001 comes to mind as a time, when it seemed like everything in our lives was uncertain and there was really no way to know what would come next. The actual disruption to life though was pretty insignificant and short lived compared with the reality we are all now facing. I’m far too young, but I have to imagine that the last time daily life for average Americans was this drastically altered was during WWII.
More than that though for followers of Jesus the very thing we do best - be the hands and feet of Jesus to hurting people - has been interrupted. The most remarkable thing about our faith is that we think God came as one of us and lived as one of us. We have a fancy theological word for that: incarnation. God knows that there is something dramatic that happens when we are together. Barriers break down, forgiveness becomes possible, and lives are transformed.
The Bible paints this wonderful picture of the people who follow Jesus. We are His body now. The image works on many levels, but two show just how important it is for us as humans to be together. The first image is that a body is made up of a bunch of different parts that all have to work together if anything good is to be accomplished. To that end we all have a place and we all need to come together as Jesus body if we are to become everything God wants us to be. We were not designed to do that on our own. The second image of Jesus followers as His body serves another purpose especially applicable in our current circumstances. Jesus uses us His followers to be His presence on earth now. We are the way God is incarnational in the world now. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, and when we interact with others, we bring God into the room with us! What does that look like now that we should not be in the same room as other people?
That is the question left to those trying to follow Jesus. We know that we need to stay away from one another for a time. God has given us intelligence to understand that a virus we cannot even see is spreading. We know that it has the ability to make many people sick and the real potential to overwhelm our hospitals, and we know what we can do to help slow that spread. We must not gather in groups, which is the opposite of what our faith would teach us to do. What a strange quandary. To best love my neighbor I need to not go visit them. Does that mean I abandon them though - I think not. God has given us creativity and ingenuity for a reason. We can use those abilities to do good even at a time like this. We can call those around us, and I would encourage you to make a list of people you can call/text/Facetime once a week to check in with and just to be God’s presence from your own home. We can be gracious to one another. We can realize that people are scared, uncertain, and insecure at a time like this. We can be a listening ear for them, and by doing so, we remind them that God is a listening ear for them all the time.
We are living day to day, not sure of exactly what tomorrow will bring. In the days ahead, we will strive to be posting to this blog daily. Our prayer is that we will be able to use this blog as one way to connect with one another. Feel free to comment. Feel free to share with friends. Let’s be creative in how we continue forward as the body of Christ.