Dear Friends in Christ,
We are living in a new season of life. During this season of COVID-19, my face touching and eye rubbing, among other high-touch activities, have been reduced to a minimum since evidence shows it is a primary way of transmitting all sorts of microscopic particles. These are hazardous to your health, so make sure you are constantly washing your hands.
This has been a major shift for many of us. We’ve not only had to curb the way we touch and grab faucet handles, but we’ve also added a series of new daily rhythms as we mask up, get an extra squirt of hand sanitizer, and sing songs while we scrub our hands. We don’t want to become infected and become ill. Even more, we don’t want to transmit the virus to those we love or those who are most vulnerable.
On occasion, we engage our faith in similar ways. We don’t want to become infected by the realities of a God who would love and forgive us. We might believe in fresh starts and unconditional love, but we wonder if it’s only available to others. We say, “God’s grace can’t extend to me. You don’t know what I’ve thought or done.”
We also don’t want to force our beliefs on others, so we muffle our words like we would cover our cough, or we don’t speak up in a key moment. In an effort to remain virus-free, we steer clear of anything that smacks of religiosity or theology (talk about God). We practice spiritual distancing. We employ protocols of ignorance, distraction, and excuses. We go out of our way to avoid interacting with God or with others about faith stuff.
But God’s activity can’t be quarantined. We may deny it. We may do everything in our power to lie to ourselves and others about our condition and try to self-isolate, but the presence of God cannot help but infect us. We encounter the living God every day through creation, one another, and the company of the Spirit. We cannot help but show signs of infection. Our lives are symptomatic as we test positive for being in the presence of the Holy One.
The apostle Paul says that God’s symptoms show up in a variety of ways. “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help the needy; be inventive in hospitality. Bless your enemies, no cursing under your breath. If you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:9-21 – The Message Bible)
God’s love is contagious. Living, sharing, celebrating. Our prayer is that God’s love will infect and change the whole world.
Spreading the love of God,