Monday, March 16, 2020

Churches Produce a Vaccine Called "Hope"

(Ludington State Park)

Church is meant to gather together. "Church" means: the gathered followers of Jesus, all who live with Jesus as their Lord.

You don't "go to church." If you are a Jesus-follower, you are the church. 

Yesterday was Sunday. Some of us at Redeemer were able to meet together. Others watched from home as we live-streamed on Facebook. For me this was important, because I need to be with my people. The more I am separated from them, the harder life is for me.

Where there is separation, fear increases. Where there is isolation, irrationality works to take over. Like the Trinity, persons created in God's image are hard-wired for community.

What if I contract the coronavirus? Then I'll self-quarantine until I am no longer infectious. But there is another kind of virus that is spiritual and emotional. It's loneliness. Loneliness, and its offspring fear and irrationality, is the cost of staying away.

Last Friday's New York Times had an essay entitled "Coronavirus and the Isolation Paradox." "Social distancing" is required to prevent infection. But loneliness can make us sick. Even apart from the coronavirus, we live with an epidemic of loneliness. Now, it is getting worse. The results, if isolation is unchecked, will be more fear, more irrationality, and more dis-ease.

The article states:

"More than three in five working Americans report feeling lonely. Now that the country is facing a disease outbreak that demands measures like “social distancing,” working from home and quarantines, that epidemic of loneliness could get even worse.
A paradox of this moment is that while social distancing is required to contain the spread of the coronavirus, it may also contribute to poor health in the long run. So while physical isolation will be required for many Americans who have Covid-19 or have been exposed to it, it’s important that we don’t let such measures cause social and emotional isolation, too."
A few days ago a spokesperson for the World Health Organization said, "Let hope be an antidote to fear." I agree. But those are empty words if churches cannot meet. The heartbeat of Real Church is being together, with Jesus in our midst. Here, for me, is where voices of faith and hope arise, and function like spiritual and emotional vaccine for my soul.

See also...

A Pastor and the Coronavirus

Defeating Fear of the Coronavirus