We have come to know the term “social distancing” as a way to lessen the spread of viruses during times of epidemics or pandemics as in the case of Covid 19. These types of quarantines or isolation procedures have been done for short periods of time in history with evidence of success such as with the Spanish flu. Most people understand the necessity of curbing sickness for the sake of others until disease has passed. However, the question of whether this practice is going to go away or be used by individuals to extend control beyond what is reasonable is now being debated in many parts of the country and world. There are now multiple, documented instances of authoritarian measures toward businesses, places of worship and even private homes where threats of arrest and overreach are being used for control and to create additional fear in a culture already on edge.
A recent MIT technology article on a specific model from Imperial College London states “researchers conclude social distancing and school closures would need to be in force some two-thirds of the time-roughly two months on and one month off- until a vaccine is available, which will take at least 18 months (if it works at all). They also state this isn’t a temporary interruption but the beginning of a new way of life to live in the state of pandemic. https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/03/17/905264/coronavirus-pandemic-social-distancing-18-months/
Vermont Health officials along with multiple news agencies say social distancing is here to stay until a vaccine is available. https://www.wcax.com/content/news/Scott-to-provide-COVID-19-update-569974231.html
So why does that matter? Just listen to the experts and get over it. My point here is not to debate medicine as most of us are not health care professionals who by the way have risked their lives during this pandemic and we applaud their efforts. We’re also sensitive to those who may have lost loved ones to Corona and are aware of the pain this has caused; not to mention those who have endured a health battle and are still in recovery. We’re not diminishing the seriousness of this nor are we ignoring science and sound health advice as some will accuse us of doing.
My only point is to remind us that permanent social distancing among those who are healthy is not a biblical concept. The New Testament records nearly 60 “one another” passages that are commands to do life together. Here is a sample of some of those verses;
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7) 14. “…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14) 15. “Greet one another with a holy kiss…” (Romans 16:16) 16. “…When you come together to eat, wait for each other.” (I Cor. 11:33). “…Have equal concern for each other.” (I Corinthians 12:25). “…Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (I Corinthians 16:20). “…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13) “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19). “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21). “…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
Acts 2:42ff- “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
There are many other examples in the scripture, but the fact is, we were never designed to be isolated but together. Now before we place blame on elected officials who may have a different focus then the bible, we have to be honest that in many cases, the church has been practicing its own form of social distancing for years. We love our gated communities, the privacy of our homes, seldom meet in home groups except with those we are comfortable with, come to church late and leave early so we don’t have to speak with anyone, refuse to serve and love sharing opinions on social media without any accountability because we don’t have the courage to speak face to face. Quite frankly, this kind of separation is demonic, and we are seeing what happens in a culture when this extreme is embraced and darkness reigns.
So, is it not a bit hypocritical to whine about the present requirements of social distancing when we have, in our own way, not practiced the model Jesus and the apostles gave us? Please understand, I do think the present requirements in America are in many cases, an overreach of power. But we will not fix this issue by cursing the darkness; we can only bring solutions by refusing to go back to “the way things were” and considering how much the Lord desires us to be about “one another.”
Let’s ponder our response as we could be on the greatest transformation the church has known in centuries that ultimately can revolutionize the culture, we are living in.