Viers Mill Baptist Church
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

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Thoughts from Pastor Robert
 
While we are staying home, Pastor Robert wants to share some thoughts.
 

LIving with Social Distancing
RomANS 8:37-39
March 22, 2020

Today is a strange Sunday for most of us. Instead of sitting in Sunday School or Worship, we are sitting at home, alone with our families. Fellowship is on hold and

"Social distancing" is the new buzz word.

Churches are closed. Schools are closed. Nursing homes have quarantined their residents. Restaurants are closed, as are ski resorts, movie theatres and casinos. Many businesses have closed. The NCAA March Madness tournament is gone, the NBA season is suspended, airlines are cutting domestic flights, and weddings have been postponed.

Our lives, our society, has changed overnight. Fear of the Corona virus has turned us all into recluses, whether we want to be or not.

We are very careful, and rightly so, about stepping into crowds. We don’t shake hands. We h our hands religiously. Many wear masks. We are “sheltering in place” with at least a slight sense of optimism – if we have hand sanitizer and plenty of toilet paper.

Social distancing is the new normal.

But here’s the thing: As much as we ought to practice social distancing, we can be sure of one thing. God quite emphatically does not practice social distancing.

It is not in God’s nature to be distant. The central event in the story of salvation – the Incarnation – is all about God entering our experience, not departing from it. Immanuel – God with us! God will not, and does not, distance himself from us. God has not done that in the past, God is not doing it now, and God will not do it ever.

This is a theme that runs throughout Scripture. God is near us, not distant from us. This is why the apostle Paul could say with authority:

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

Yes, there are passages, especially in the Psalms, where the writer complains that God seems distant. Usually, God seems distant because of the sin of the person, or of the nation. Whenever God seemed distant, He always gave hope that one day soon, things would change (usually that meant we would change), and God would return. God does not want to be distant from you. He wants to be right beside you.

 

He wants his children to be a family, and that means being with each other in good times and bad.

In the weeks and months to come, social distancing will require us to make sacrifices and find new ways of staying connected. But as Paul reminds us, God will be with us no matter where we are.

God is with us. So, let us find ways to stay connected with each other. Call. Text. Email. Even visit. Talking through the door is better then not talking at all. Check up on each other. Help each other. Let us make sure that our family, both earthly and church, is safe.

In these uncertain times, we need faith. In these uncertain times, we need the Savior. In these uncertain times, we need our Christian family. The government says – stay away from each other. The Bible says:

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:23-25)

Our world is fighting a war, and the Corona Virus is the enemy. Yes, it is just a simple virus, but one that can have a devastating impact on the body. That makes it our enemy. And we can fight the enemy. How? Be smart. Montgomery County council member Nancy Navarro, in an email last Monday, gave some very good advice, advice we should all heed:

To help further slow the spread of the virus, we encourage the public to: Avoid non-essential travel. Stay away from others when you are sick. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Avoid crowded places or places where you might interact with people who are sick. Keep distance between yourself and other people.

Sage advice. Of course, what she did not add, but you have heard from so many others: Wash your hands frequently. Use sanitizer if you cannot get to soap and water. Cover your mouth when you sneeze and cough.

One of the dangers of the call to social distancing and avoiding human contact is the danger of isolation. The danger of lonliness and depression. Alone, we are lost. Alone, we are in danger. In danger from our own fears and doubts. Together, there is strenght, hope, and love.

In this time of fear and isolation, we need strength, hope, and love more than ever. We need the message of Easter. The message of life and healing and forgiveness. The message of Jesus risen from the grave. We need to remember His promises to us:

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt 28:20)

Covid-19 can kill. Our Savior defeated death.

Fear is strong. Our Savior is stronger.

Our Government wants us in isolation. Our Savior is always with us.

Social Distancing keeps us apart. Our faith unites us.

This crisis will pass, and life will return to normal. Perhaps it will be a new normal, different from the past. But your church, your church family, and your Savior will still be here. None of us are going anywhere.

Stay safe, keep the faith, say your prayers, read your bible. And always remember that even in the midst of social distancing, you are never alone. Christ is there.

(Many thanks to Timothy Merrill of Homiletics Online for his thoughts on this matter.)

 


 

Rom 8:37-39

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.