Seen through the lens of a secular viewpoint, there is not a lot in 2020 that holds any comfort, joy or peace. Besides the pandemic, there has been political strife, economic hardship, illness and a world that seems poised on the brink of calamity. However, in any given year, the world is always on the brink of calamity. To those who are committed to, and comforted by, an active faith in Jesus Christ, it is not the physical world that we take comfort. But living in the world, as a sort of “resident alien”, (1 Peter 2:10-12, NIV) is not easy and does get messy. That is why we need to be reminded how and why we live differently.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”John 13: 34 – 35 (NIV)
“Spectator” Christianity, watching our church services each Sunday on YouTube, can be quite lonely. And we can start to go through the motions rather than live purposefully and intently as disciples of Jesus. As a world-wide association of churches that thrive on one-another relationships and small groups who gather to study the Bible, eat together, and enjoy each others company, the COVID “social distancing” affected everyone very hard. When we began isolating it was March, and it is now nearly October! Our ministers have encouraged us to be creative and purposeful. As humans, ministers and flock can get out of habit of daily Jesus when we are “self-quarantining”. When meeting together requires arrangements, sanitizers, masks, and social distancing. But they urge us to connect with one another. Have meaningful phone conversations. Visit one another outdoors. Find ways to reach out to neighbors and co-workers through hospitality or assistance. Give others a positive and encouraging impression of what it means to live as a Christian.
As for our little small group communities, some occasionally meet in parks. For some, the reality of their career never provided the opportunity of a “shutdown” nor “working from home”. For others, reopening businesses meant preserving their livelihoods. So we know how to invigorate our Christianity once again. Most, both Christian and non-Christian I know, still practice wearing masks and distancing out of mutual respect not just following government ordinance. Our longtime friends and us, the “Empty Nesters”, met together in a park today to have a little lunch and near face-to- face conversation. It was our first such outing in a very long time. It was good to see one another.