Many of the things we took for granted a few weeks ago, (i.e. grocery shopping, getting a haircut, eating with friends, etc.) now come with heightened risk and are even prohibited in some cases. While the lack of access to some goods and services is taking its toll, perhaps the most difficult impact of the COVID-19 shutdown has been to our social lives. News reports, social media posts, and even noises from our neighbors’ backyards show that people are defying health advice, government mandates and, in some cases, common sense in order to maintain in-person connections with others.
Most all of us have a fundamental need for community. And while things like FaceTime and Skype help during circumstances like these, they can’t really replace live, face-to-face interactions. It’s impossible for friends to have a pool party over Skype, or for families to give hugs on FaceTime, or for churches to have communion through Zoom. This is why, in large part, people are willing to risk their lives (and unfortunately other people’s lives), because the need for community is so compelling.
As Christians, being part of community is central to who we are; many of us are missing our church community deeply. And yet we should not put ourselves or others at unnecessary risk, as being a Christian does not automatically provide an immunity to COVID-19 or any other illness. This does not mean we should be afraid, but use wise judgment. Paul reminds us, “For God did not give us a spirit of fear. He gave us a spirit of power and of love and of a good mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). May we eagerly anticipate rejoining our community in-person, but stay safe until then by using the good mind that God gave us!