United Church of Christ

Into the Mystic: Social Distancing

Into the Mystic: Social DistancingNothing can distance us from the love of God. Not a virus, nor the distance it can create.

We were built for love.

In love we were created; and unto love we shall return.

The most fundamental theological assertion and the most basic biblical claim is this: God is love.

All that we are and do, all that Jesus claimed and did, emanate from this.

The law can be summed up in this: you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength; and you shall love your neighbor as yourself. In other words, love that which is beyond you; love that which is beside you; love that which is within you.

For Jesus so loved the world….

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God – and whoever loves is begotten of God and knows God.

This is my command for all of you: love one another as I have loved you.

We were built for love.

Which is going to make this next thing hard for so many of us: social distancing.

It is so counterintuitive to how we were built. Paradoxically, right now and for the foreseeable future the most loving thing we can do for one another is avoid each other.

A little over a week ago, I spent two days with my grandchildren. I went home and started coughing and all I felt was fear and guilt. Did I just infect those precious children with a deadly virus? My doctor tells me no – and few things have given me more relief.

There are many vulnerable people among us – loved ones and strangers alike. Either their age or underlying health conditions render them susceptible to a deadly virus that could be living inside a presumed healthy body that might not know for days what it is carrying inside itself.

For love, congregations are canceling services. People who find their joy in the coming together to give thanks to the source of their love must now distance themselves from one another.

This is hard.

This is not what we were built for.

But we will do this. And we will do it for love.

I attended six worship services yesterday: one in Avon Lake OH, one in Park Forest IL, one in Omaha NB, one in Colorado Springs CO, one in Seattle WA, and one in Honolulu HI. They all talked about how hard this was, how new this was, and why this was. But on every online chat that accompanied the broadcast, there were expressions of gratitude and love from those who joined in the worship. We did what worship brings us together for: connected with our sacred and connected with each other.

I think we are learning something new: God’s love knows no bounds.

Yes, the God who is love; who created us in and built us for love, can reach us beyond our social distancing; can connect to us and with us and through us beyond all the distances we can create.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Not a virus nor the distance it creates. Beloved, let us simply love one another on this, our journey Into the Mystic.


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