A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO NAVIGATING COVID-19…
after you have followed all the official protocols
How to be Social During a Season of Social Distancing
Please take a moment and read this instruction from the apostle Paul:
Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.
One of the more obvious challenges we are all facing is the ability to be social in an era of social distancing. And let’s be clear about something, and I’m not throwing shade here, but having a presence on ‘social’ media doesn’t necessarily mean that one is socially engaged. So then, how do we have community when we are in quarantine? It’s a strange new world to say the least! And yet, the teachings of Scripture still exist. We are still called to live like ‘citizens of heaven’ and stand together ‘with one spirit and one purpose’.
Therefore, let’s talk practically about how to have community in a time where we are trying to stay as far from one another as possible.
- Learn together
Come now, let us engage in the forward journey of discovery together. Let us breathe in the knowledge of what was previously unknown. And let us do it together, so that we may grow together. Embrace the multiplicity of ways to go on the hunt after a great idea with some people you know and care about. Join a book club, start an online Bible study, watch a documentary and discuss in a video chat. Also, don’t forget to journal the journey. Record the knowledge and wisdom gained. Grab a journal and write on the cover, “Stuff I learned in 2020 while going through a pandemic”.
- Serve together
The Coronavirus is a terrible thing, that has created uncertainty… but also opportunity to serve. We are surrounded by need, and social distance doesn’t eliminate the myriad of needs throughout our culture. Maybe it’s easier to think about it this way: 2019 = a broken world in need, but 2020 = a broken world + COVID-19. So be a bridge builder! Use the gift of imagination to build a bridge from social distancing to solutions. Serving now requires us to engage that God-given gift of creative energy to bring out the greatest good, thus fulfilling His desired will. Make no mistake about it, this is the age of opportunity… for those who are willing to think differently.
- Empathize with one another
The dictionary defines ‘empathy’ as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” Paul described empathy this way, “Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” Social distancing certainly makes it more difficult to know about people’s emotions and struggles. But if we were to put ourselves in, say, a senior in high school’s shoes there are some healthy assumptions that could be made. They might be sad about a cancelled sport or competition, big dance, and certainly graduation. What can you do to empathize with them?
- Laugh together
Laughter allows the soul to breathe a bit during times of stress and confusion. Laughter is a healthy release valve to make sure we don’t explode or implode under the craziness of the present crisis. So, make sure that there is a healthy dose of laughter in your life. Be silly daily! Have a dance party with your family, watch the never-ending creative memes, listen to a comedian, or just sit around telling stories of embarrassing moments. But don’t laugh in solitude; if it’s really funny, share it and watch the laughter become contagious.
- Pray together
Dr. Billy Graham was once asked what the formula was for seeing God move powerfully in our midst. His answer, “Prayer, prayer, and prayer.” If love is the glue for community, then prayer is an essential ingredient. I would go so far as to say that a failure to pray for each other is, in and of itself, well, failure. Therefore, pray specifically for those you know. Usher their needs to the throne room of the good Father. If you need a simple way to pray here is one that my family has adapted and used for years based on the acronym A-C-T-S:
- Worship together
Doing life together as a community of believers called the local church looks, and maybe even feels, different than it did last month. But I implore you, stay involved in your local church… after all, the church is God’s strategy to communicate home to the world! Watch services online, video conference with small groups, and give. The method by which we do is evolving in such a way that it will be involving us more… not less.
- Love one another
“But above all these things, put on love…” The authentic church loves well, in season and out of season. The follower of Jesus loves well, before a pandemic and during a pandemic. We will be known for how we love one another. So, let us all commit to always choose love (agape) instead of choosing sides. For when we do, those we love experience the love of God.