Under the cloud of a dreadful pandemic, we have been introduced to a new expression: social distancing. It is a hard concept. Oh, we’re finally getting it. Of necessity, lest we contract this potentially deadly contagion called coronavirus, we're now beginning to grasp the importance of putting space between us. We are warned repeatedly (everyday and multiple times throughout the day) - - with the upshot being that unless you want to be six feet under you need to stay six feet apart. In an effort to contribute to the propagation of this timely message, McDonald’s has premiered an ingenious marketing scheme: the golden arches are no longer intertwined, but are now standing apart.
Mentally, we’re beginning to comprehend the need for this newfound concept of social distancing, but emotionally and spiritually we remain resistant - - such runs diametrically opposed to our Body-of-Christ genetic makeup. As the people of God who love one another deeply, we shake hands (Gal.2:9); we embrace (Acts 20:37); and we often greet one another with a kiss (Rom.16:16). I am quite confident that when this threat is finally quashed and we are officially given the green light to return to normal, we'll have no problem reverting to our former way of life (handshakes & hugs). The blood of Christ binds us together -- it is our “default setting” -- or as Paul writes, we're knit together in love (Col.2:2).
In one of his recent daily press briefings the governor of New York spoke rather passionately while giving a directive something like this: we must not allow this time of social disengagement to dampen our desire for spiritual connectivity. This thoughtful CALL FOR SPIRITUAL CONNECTIVITY is a powerful exhortation for family and friends, neighbors and relatives, workmates and classmates, but it also highlights the work of the church. Thanks to Alexander Graham Bell we can still stay connected by phone, and we rejoice that many of our number are doing a stellar job at keeping the lines hot. Even while we are being directed to keep our distance we can bridge the divide by staying connected electronically. Throughout these unsettling days we can be grateful for social networking like Facebook and the ability to Face Time with loved ones both far and near. Some of us might even consider re-visiting that old-school methodology known as writing letters of encouragement. Maybe this is a good time to resurrect snail mail.
In looking for a silver lining in these tumultuous times consider how this unexpected shut-down might work its good leaven in causing us to cease striving and know that Jehovah is our God (Ps.46:10). Let us draw near to God with the assurance that He will draw near to us (Js.4:8). No “edicts” have been handed down telling us we cannot pray. In fact, many are praying like never before. And no one is telling us we cannot read the Bible. So let us capitalize on this time of quarantine as we search the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11). And most importantly, LET US REST IN THE KNOWLEDGE that (nothing) can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom.8:39).
Terry Siverd / Cortland Church of Christ