Each time period leaves a legacy, and the COVID-19 pandemic will certainly make a mark on the habits of our daily lives. How can we as Christians respond in the midst of fluctuating circumstances that affect the globe? Zephaniah reminds us, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves” (Zephaniah 3:17). Therefore, no matter what the circumstance, we can believe in our good God. With social distancing, Christians are all the more called to be faithful in community by being present where we are, praying earnestly and trusting God.
Social distancing is so apparently contrary to Westmont’s acclaimed community. We lament the togetherness we have lost: gathering and eating in fellowship, the blessed chance-like encounters walking around campus, communing together in Chapel to worship God as one, huddling close to one another as we traverse learning and studying—the joys of experiencing life with one another.
In the midst of separation, how can we be a united community? We run towards the unity and everlasting life, peace and joy that come from reconciliation with God through the power of His Spirit as the body of Christ.
God sends His Son, Immanuel, promising that He is always with us. Practicing faithful presence today means loving, sacrificing for, and investing in the people in our homes. We sit uncertain of our present and future plans; we mourn the life we imagined for ourselves and have lost. But we also become so much more grateful for the precious moments we can treasure where we are now. Home is where we can practice Christ-like forgiveness when sacrificing the quiet and time alone for homework to lean into the bustle of the family, engage in conversations and pray with one another for God’s mending of relationships that frayed with time and distance. We practice justice by picking up groceries for our neighbors in the midst of long lines or even helping around the house, whether in daily cooking, cleaning, or care. We share our abundance of blessings with each other in thanksgiving because God first gave us His indescribable gift that is Jesus! We trust and obey God today by laying our lives down for one another in the daily tasks.
God’s Kingdom is here and yet not here, appearing far off. Lines of people hurriedly crowd the store fronts as shelf-stockers work to keep up. As children of God who have faith in the mighty name and power of Jesus, we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Our God supplies our everyday needs. As Elijah and Hannah prayed for God’s miracles, we pray in the mighty name of Jesus for God’s Kingdom, ultimate communion with God, where there is healing, plenty, justice, forgiveness and more than enough. Our faithful response is to pray for leaders and caretakers, those recovering and forgotten as we mindfully live each day using the gifts God has blessed us with and caring for our hearts, souls, minds, and strength as we love our community in obedience and trust that God provides for our needs.
Let us love God. Let us love our neighbor. Let us spend time in the living and active Word of our Lord. Our blessed communities are not necessarily physically with us wherever we continue our life journeys. Yet today we can practice maintaining these treasured relationships across the distance by calling on the phone, praying with one another and encouraging each other as we see the day drawing near, recognizing that even these blessed times of community are a glimpse of the kingdom of God. What a time we have to be intentional with our everyday life, in health, communication, and sacred moments of circumstance. We walk with one another; together, we grow closer to God. Each day, let us pray, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10).