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One-a-Day...for the Heart: Social Distancing

This One-a-Day will be a blast from the past. So many things changed in our world when the coronavirus was loosed on humanity, and "social distancing" became part of our everyday speech.

The following excerpt from my post in 2020 is a reminder of how things were during that dark time in our world: No longer are we assured of being able to sit down at a favorite restaurant and enjoy a meal. Whether a restaurant’s dining room is open depends on the number of incidences of Covid-19 in an area. Shopping in a grocery store has taken on a new look, with arrows on the floor marking directional patterns on each aisle. Church pews and chairs are separated to allow for a 6-feet distance between people. The regulations for keeping a safe distance between each other have changed our ability to socialize; indeed, the whole approach to interacting with others has caused many people to stay away from social groups and family get-togethers.

      Lepers understood social distancing long before any of us. Even royalty, when infected with leprosy, lived in separate quarters from the rest of society. There was no cure for the ancient, highly contagious disease, and death and disfigurement were the only prognoses. Today, the disease, known as Hansen’s Disease, is easily curable, but the bacteria, spread through respiratory droplets, infects 150-250 Americans every year.

     The stigma of "LEPER!!” is gone now; no more need to wear a bell around the neck and warn others of a leper’s approach; no more banishing a leper beyond the gates of a city. Jesus was not afraid to touch lepers. He touched them and healed them. When He came upon a man with an advanced case of leprosy who begged Him for healing, Jesus reached out and touched him. "I am willing," He said, "Be healed.” And instantly the leprosy disappeared (Luke 5:12-14 NLT).

     Society distanced itself from lepers; Jesus did not. While we practiced social distancing until the threat of the coronavirus was gone, Jesus did not distance Himself from us. His Church was and is alive and well. Although limited somewhat in the physical gathering of congregations for a time, the beat went on via smartphones, email, social media, and regular snail mail. During that time, we learned that we can still gather in His name, whether 1 foot, 6 feet, or 3,000 miles apart.

Remarkably, Jesus joins us there, too! He said, “When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there” (Matthew 18:19-20 MSG). The Lord is omnipresent. He’s still touching the socially distanced, and God shows up as we unite our faith with even a few fellow believers in conversation or in person.

© 2020, 2024 Chris Custer Werre

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