Church looks different, caring for one another, being a community looks different when you are advised to practice social distancing. It is a strange thing to write this blog standing in my kitchen with live-streamed church services on my computer, but those services only include a few people. It is strange to know thousands of others are doing something similar on their Sunday morning.
I have checked my temperature every day for the last couple days. I know exactly when I was last in a situation with other people. I know exactly what I touched last that others may have touched as well. I’ve wiped down countertops, doorknobs, my microwave buttons, refrigerator handle, and light switches more in the last few days that I have in the last month. I, as many others, are living in a strange and anxious time, and the unknown of a timeline only makes it worse.
However, with all of this growing anxiety, fear shared and expressed within news services and on social media, I do believe we, as a community and as a church, are growing closer together. We are loving one another by keeping our distance from each other.
The church is practicing this love. We gather online – utilizing the various resources we have at our fingertips to spread God’s love and Christ’s healing message of redemption. We have shared resources freely and openly with each other, knowing that the more who know of the resources, the better.
We have prayed for each other, openly and unapologetically on social media, on the phone, on group Zoom calls. We have come together in ways we had only brainstormed before.
There is no end date for this virus, there is no end date for the cancelled events, voluntary self-quarantine, social distancing, or anxiety. Everything is pending. Everything but the self-sacrificial love we are called to show to one another as Christ has showed us.
What does this love look like?
It looks like actively checking in on your neighbors (while maintaining a safe distance) who are older or more at risk. Talking with them, asking how they are, asking if they need anything.
It looks like continuing to come together virtually. Hosting bible studies, vestry meetings, knitting clubs, baking clubs, prayer groups, healing services, silence, the Daily Office, and Sunday morning worship service – all online.
It looks like calling your family, friends, and community members. Reconnect with them, ask them about the latest thing they read or watched or worked on. Talk to them about things other than the virus. It is still there if you don’t talk about it, it is not to ignore it, but to ease anxiety and offer a tiny balm in this time of heightened stress.
It looks like supporting those who do not work for an organization that can work from home. Search for groups and non-profits in your local area that work closely with this population to offer support and resources. Reach out, see how you can be involved.
It looks like supporting your local businesses (buying gift certificates from them) – they are more at risk to not recover financially. Work with and support foodbanks and church meal services who are offering meals to-go.
It looks like continuing to fight for the underprivileged, marginalized, and oppressed communities once this pandemic passes. It is our baptismal call to serve these communities in our works, words, and lives.
It looks like practicing social distancing. Do not put yourself or others at risk if you do not need. By practicing social distancing, we are allowing our healthcare providers and hospitals to not become overwhelmed.
And it looks like praying, a lot, for everyone.
It is a weird time we are in, I won’t deny that, and yet God is with us. God is with all of us in this time of fear, anxiety, confusion, and isolation. God is here. Loving our neighbors may look a bit different today, but we are still loving our neighbors. And to quote Dr. Cornell West, “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public.” We are called to love one another in public, and to strive for justice and peace among all people, respecting the dignity of every human being, today and everyday going forward.
For all ECCT news, updates, resources, and event statuses please visit: https://www.episcopalct.org/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/