Living out our faith in a time of social distancing, 4-17-20
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)
How do we live out this passage in our time of social distancing?
- We accept the circumstance as from the hand of our sovereign Lord. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2-3 (NAS)
- We respect the recommendations to maintain social distance from one another as expressions of love for one another. We do what we are able to protect one another, especially the most vulnerable, from getting this virus through our own neglect.
- We pray that God would deliver us from this evil. “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” – The Lord’s Prayer. This virus is a kind of evil, a natural evil, an expression of the fallen world broken by sin. Al Mohler writes, “We understand the distinction between natural evil, say an earthquake, and moral evil, say a kidnapping. Those are two very different moral categories.” (The Briefing, March 23, 2020.)
- We recognize our need for one another. The lone ember in the fireplace grows cold. The sick person longs to get well. If we give up our longing to be together, we are like the sick person who gives up hope of getting well.
- We spur one another on toward love and good deeds, as the NIV puts the verse above from Hebrews. BUDDY CHECK! Keep up with one another as best you can.
- We do not neglect our gathering together as a church by livestream, even though we can’t be physically together! There is value in staying connected with your own church family. There may always be better preaching and better production quality from national ministries who are practiced in televised services, but they cannot offer you the relationships that one experiences in a local congregation. Many are faithful, wonderful ministries (beware of those that are not) that can be an additional blessing to you, but remember to worship with your own church family. The author of Hebrews was addressing those who might have been tempted to think, “I can worship at home just reading the letters of the Apostle Paul” – not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some. (Besides, Mike is working with a team to improve our equipment and ability to livestream. Check it out as we roll it out over the next couple of weeks!)
We were so disappointed that livestream went down this last Sunday – Easter Sunday of all Sundays. It is like having the feast prepared for the holiday, only to drop it on the way to the table. How discouraging! And we did not have the participation rate in the evening that we began with in the morning when the recording of the service was posted. But though Comcast failed us, God’s Word never does. Let us encourage one another, and all the more as we see the Day of the Lord drawing near.