Fellowship and Social Distancing

This past week, covid-19 has exploded in my little hometown. Overnight we went from 3 cases to 15! That may not seem like many for those of you living in a big city, but in our rural, south-central Kansas community, it’s huge. As a result, we’ve had to close the church building doors (again) and rely on the internet for broadcasting our classes and worship.

While I’m glad we have those technological solutions, it’s just not the same. An “air hug” will never replace the real thing. Zoom will never replace a good old-fashioned potluck. Fellowship is the heart of the Christian community, and we are all suffering.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to different ways we can stay in touch. Of course, there is the phone, but we need to make sure to reach out to everyone in the congregation. That means calling people you might be uncomfortable talking with – or calling people you don’t know very well. Could it be this is an opportunity to make new friends? Don’t be shy; just say, “Hi.” (Hmm, could that be a bumper sticker?)

Recently, my family got together on Zoom. We are scattered from Ireland to Hawaii, but we could laugh and tell stories and see how we’ve changed. Imagine how difficult it would have been to have an in-person family reunion! There was a blessing.

One youth minister I know has started decorating sugar cookies. He and his daughter drive to people’s houses, leave the cookies on the porch and ring the doorbell. (Nothing says “I care” like homemade cookies.)

Many people are visiting folks in the nursing home – from outside the building. They get on their cell phones and talk through the window! One man even used a cherry picker to talk to his mom through a second-story window.

Texting is nice. You’re not interrupting since the recipient can read your message at their leisure, but all of us have some extra time on our hands. Why not write an old-fashioned letter and mail it? My mother-in-law, Dixie, is sending out beautiful homemade cards that people treasure. She was recently blessed when some children sent her a card in return. The cards were covered in crayons and stickers and wrapped in love. How precious!

I’m glad to say; fellowship is alive even when we are apart. Reach out and touch someone today! Well, don’t touch their hands. Touch their hearts!

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