I wrote this for my church and thought I’d share it here.

We live in a world of great complexity these days. Everyone around us is telling us we need to be apart, by at least six feet and never in groups of more than ten. It sounds simple enough until you decide to go to work, or have a celebration, or be the church. That can be a real head scratcher. In these nearly unprecedented days, it begs the question “What do you do?” Now the answer to some is to rebel. I saw there was an arrest warrant issued for a pastor in Florida who kept his church open. Truth be known the church ended up being full. The comments ran the gamut from a man standing for our constitutional rights to everything that is wrong with the church. I will leave that up to His God to decide. At Springfield we have taken a different tack.

Part of what makes this complex is we have a pretty clear Scriptural command. Some will say you can worship God anywhere, and that is true and you should, but the Bible also says in Hebrews 10:25: “Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” It seems pretty clear that the Bible is telling us that gathering for worship is not just important, it’s commanded, especially when the world, and the church for that matter, are in need of encouragement in a way I can scarcely remember in my lifetime, as least sing 9/11. So how can we be together when we can’t be together. It seems to me we need to learn to be together/apart.

For example, one of the things that brings people together is shared experiences. It is for this reason that we have started to share our services on line. Our facility is such that wi-fi does not work particularly well. Old buildings with two foot thick walls tend to not be as conducive to bouncing signals off of satellites. For this reason, live streaming is not really a good option, but nonetheless we can make sure that everyone hears the same message and sees the same images. For those who do not have internet access, we mail the messages so that they too can keep up with what’s going on.

Another way to be together apart is to have our Bible study on Zoom, which we are also doing. That way we can have some face to face contact even though we are separated by quite a few miles. We are also making efforts to connect more via social media and my hope is in creating all this very sharable media, that we are also creating tools to take the Gospel beyond our walls.

Other than that we have to go with the old tried and true methods. We can call each other, write letters and send cards. Now I’ll be the first to admit, none of these solutions is perfect, but what is in a pandemic situation? All of us are learning as we go. We will get some things right and we will get some things wrong. My prayer is that nothing we do will go too wrong. Please know, we’re trying, even as we pray this soon comes to an end. I long for the day when we can worship together again, but until them, There may be a “shelter-at-home” order in place, but we can still stay connected and if we do that, we can still be together even when we’re apart.

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