In Monday’s post, I talked about spiritual distancing as opposed to social distancing. In that post, I said that one version of spiritual distancing was to distance our spirits from anything harmful. We need to protect our souls in the same way and to the same degree we are protecting our bodies right now.
You can read that post here – Spiritual Distancing #1.
Today, I want to explore another meaning of spiritual distancing. This is one we do not want to practice.
We should not be spiritually distancing ourselves from the rest of the church now or at any time.
Here in the UK, we are not allowed to leave our homes except to do essential work, shopping or caring, or to obtain medicine. All places of worship, christian or otherwise, are closed indefinitely. It might be much the same where you live.
This is to, of course, prevent the unnecessary spread of COVID-19, and so churches and Christian fellowships across the world are not physically able to meet together right now.
That being the case, how can we fulfil the following Scripture?
Do not stop going to church meetings. Some people do stop. But help each other to be strong. You must do it all the more as you see the Great Day coming closer.
Hebrews 10:25 (WEB)
This verse seems to contradict the law of the land and tell us to “go to church.” Of course, I am certainly not telling you to go against the law! We must be obedient to the law and not go to places of worship, but there are other ways to fulfil this Scripture.
Firstly, we must remember that it is only church buildings that are closed, not the church itself! The church is not a building, but a group of believers – a family. Even if our buildings are shut for any reason, we remain a family.
Our church has been on something of a journey with live streaming. When UK restrictions were first put in place, our church building remained open (in line with guidance at the time) and the services were streamed from the premises. We had some technological issues, with a lot of buffering and such like.
Since then, restrictions meant that the building itself had to close and so services have been conducted from someone’s hone. To overcome the buffering, things have been pre-recorded which makes for a much smoother watching experience!
The thing I really enjoy about our streaming services is that our church leadership have made a real effort to include as many people as possible. Some have recorded video messages and sent them in. Others have phoned in audio, or written letters. We now have a church phone where people can text in messages during services to say hello or join in.
It reminds us that church is not a spectator sport, but one in which we are all a part.
Perhaps your church is doing something similar, or perhaps it is not in a position to work with technology in this way. Either way, how can you avoid spiritually distancing yourself from the rest of the church?
Another local church I know of does not have the ability to stream services at present. Instead, they have divided the church membership into groups and are ensuring that everyone gets a phone call at least once a week.
We need each other. We were not created to be alone. In this world where Christian values are no longer valued, we need to spend time fellow shipping with other like-minded believers.
Now more than ever, we need to support and encourage one another. We need to be praying for other members of our church on a daily basis. Hard as these times are, they are also a great opportunity for us to witness to the world. When the world loses all hope and is being swallowed up in fear, they should be able to look to a united church and say, “I want to be a part of that!”
Who can you call today? Who can you send a little encouraging note to? IF you venture out shopping (for essentials), can you pick up one or two extra items for an elderly church member who may need them? Can you record a video to share with someone? Don’t forget that young family whose children are going stir crazy stuck indoors – perhaps you can send them something to do?
There is something you can do, and it will bless someone today.
So then, when we can, we should do good to all people. But most of all, we should do it to those who are in God’s family.
Galatians 6:10 (WEB)
While practising social distancing today, do not practice spiritual distancing from the Body of Christ.