Jesus said, “My command is this: love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). Social distance? Yes, I get it. It’s not good to be crowded together, draping over each other like curtains. The challenge we face as Christians is how to obey Jesus’ command to love…while at the same time keeping our distance. Thankfully, little by little, the restrictions are easing up. With the increase in vaccinations and the decrease in COVID cases, we “see the light” of social gatherings gradually coming back to some sense of “normal.” I am so thankful for the gift of technology which has allowed so many to watch online. As a pastor, my concern going forward is for those who will choose to stay “virtual” indefinitely. This is not a judgment for those who choose to continue to stay online until they feel ready. However, along with viewing, there needs to be creative steps to stay connected to real people. The question becomes, “How will I continue to love others as Jesus commanded me?” We must do all that we can in the circumstances we find ourselves. We cannot allow a virus to diminish our capacity for love and compassion or slacken our obedience to share His light through good deeds. I believe in the Church of Jesus Christ! In talking to other pastors, we share the same concern. How can we help those who have left the church…who seem to have fallen into the cracks of isolation? First, we need to be examples of Jesus’ love. As I look back over my life, I am filled with gratitude to be a part of the body of Jesus—expressed through a local congregation. Staying relationally connected is sometimes difficult and can even be “painful.” However, the pain of real relationships far outweighs the pain of loneliness. God created us to learn to love each other. And God created the Church so that we could find our purpose and place in His body…loving and serving one another. As each of us obeys Jesus, His Church becomes strong and “built up” in love. What an honor to be a part of His overcoming and eternal Church—expressed through the local church. As for me and my house, we choose to love Jesus through loving His people. The Church of Jesus Christ is the only true hope for our world.
Pastor Mark Boucher