Social Distancing. Is this term an oxymoron? How can one truly “socialize” while being “distant”? Social distancing is certainly more difficult for some of us than others. But none of us can use it as an excuse not to socialize. We simply need to learn how to socialize at a distance.
Jesus never practiced social distancing. No barriers existed between Jesus and the people.
He was going from Judea to Galilee. The Jews did not “socialize” with the Samaritans, so it was especially unusual that Jesus would go through Samaria on His way to Galilee. But He did. “Smack dab” through Samaria, purposely pausing at Jacob’s Well, near Sychar. It appears He planned it that way to “socialize” with a Samaritan woman – a broken, sinful, spiritually thirsty woman. A woman who needed Living Water. “I Am,” He said.
On another occasion, when His disciples tried to “shoo” the children away, Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.” He blessed them. He washed the feet of others. He healed multitudes. He fed thousands. He raised the dead. He was God in the flesh, truly above all, yet nothing was beneath Him. He socialized with purpose.
And Jesus sent us to do the same. We are clearly given what is called “The Great Commission.” It involves socializing.
Jesus is unchanging.
He is the “same yesterday, today, and forever.”
And His message is unchanging.
We are accustomed to meeting with people – face-to face. Large groups. Small groups. One-on-one. We are used to going next door to meet with others, or flying across the country.
Now things have changed. But Jesus hasn’t changed, nor has His message. It is the same message: “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” He says. We still are commissioned to “go” and “baptize” and “teach.” Only our means of doing so have changed.
During this time of social distancing, small businesses have had to become creative. We call and order paint and supplies from our local Sherwin Williams, drive up, and open the back gate of our Enclave. The employee comes out the door, masked but her eyes displaying a brilliant smile. She loads the supplies into the back of our car and thanks us for our business.
A couple began a new cereal company shortly before the pandemic shutdowns began. Now, they safely and distantly provide samples to potential customers who drive around the couple’s u-shaped driveway.
We have more opportunities today, even while practicing social distancing, than people have had through the ages before us. Telephones and the internet offer a multitude of options to serve and minister to people every day. Zoom enables congregants to gather online – for meetings, prayer, and to socialize. People meet one-on-one, six feet apart in front yards, parks, or driveways. The purposeful are creative.
Social distancing requirements do not obstruct our commission. It’s still the same commission from an unchanging Savior. Be creative, my friend. People are thirsting, now perhaps more than ever. Share the “Living Water.” Go.
Further Reading: Matthew 28:19; Hebrews 13:8