Greetings to all,
I hope this Pastor’s Corner finds you well, and that you have had a good week despite the quarantine and self-isolation that we’ve all been experiencing over these past couple of weeks.
My wife has begun to keep track on our refrigerator as to the number of days we’ve been in quarantine – I’m thankful she’s not scratching it into the walls like the prisoners on television and movies, but it is interesting as we’ve gone through this to come to terms with and realize just how social of creatures we are as humans.
Isolation doesn’t come naturally to us – we’re tribal, social creatures. God designed us that way – to desire family, and social groups. We don’t necessarily do well when it comes to isolation, or frankly – being homebound.
There have been a number of humorous things I’ve come across this week as folks have come to terms with a couple of weeks at-home. There was the man who interrupted his wife’s work call by walking across the background in his underwear, much to her surprise and the surprise of her co-workers. The parent who was trying to get work done remotely and finally just jokingly duct taped their children to the floor behind them, with some duct tape over their mouths so they could get some work done. There have been all kinds of artists offering online painting classes, ballet lessons, offering up concerts and entertainment. There have been home-made late night shows by Jimmy Fallon and others…
We’re not the first group of humans to go through something this. There were mass quarantines during the Bubonic Plague outbreaks in Europe during the 1300’s, and during the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918-1920. The difference was, they didn’t have the technologies that we have today that enabled us to maintain connection despite that quarantine. In spite of those quarantines, humanity went on… Life continued – they continued to create, to grow, to develop. People learned languages, musical instruments, advanced mathematics. They worked on their farms, producing food for their families and others. Thankfully – during this quarantine, despite some of the disheartening things that we’ve seen, we’ve also seen humanity continuing to create and thrive which has been encouraging… but the lack of human social interaction has been noted.
I hope and pray that we don’t forget this, and what it felt like.
How badly we wanted to go and enjoy a beer with our friends, or to hug our friends and loved ones. Play some basketball or volleyball, or gather together for coffee.
I hope we never take the opportunities for meaningful human interaction for granted ever again.
Fellowship together is so incredibly important. Spending time with one another in shared pursuit. Working together for a common goal. This is crucial in the world, but even more crucial spiritually, spending meaningful time with one another in a shared pursuit – the worship of Almighty God.
In 1st John 1:5-7 John 1:5-7  And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
American King James Version×, the Apostle John writes, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
During this quarantine, while we are missing our fellowship with one another, let us not forget our fellowship with God. Not becoming slack, instead, ensuring that we are abiding by His instructions, spending the time in Passover preparation and walking in the light so we can be in fellowship with Him, and ultimately, with one another.
The Spring Holy Day season offers wonderful opportunities for fellowship. The Passover is a fellowship and a communion together as we partake of the bread and wine with one another. We have opportunities to fellowship with the NTBMO, and the Spring Holy Days…
This year – we will all need to get creative and flex the available technology in order to do what we can to ensure that the fellowship continues. We’re planning to drop food off at the home of our NTBMO guests and video chat for the dinner. It’s the next best thing to being there – we won’t be giving up. We won’t be letting the situation dictate our response – we will still gather together (without gathering together).
We can do the same for Passover, and for Spring Holy Days. We can’t be in the same room – but we can gather together using the available technology.
We will get through this. We’ll come out the other side and ultimately be stronger as a result. I hope and I pray that all of us remember what it was like to be home. To be shut-in. To not have the connection that we so desperately desire, and when we come out – that we remember one another more strongly… our widows and our shut-ins, and not take the various opportunities that we have to be social and fellowship with one another for granted.
Happy Sabbath to you all!
We’ll be webcasting tomorrow starting at 2:00 PM, at www.ucg.org/congregations/salem-or/webcast, password: treeoflife. We’re also offering a phone hookup for those that do not have internet – the toll free number is 1-888-532-9655. Most have been contacted with that information at this time – but feel free to share with others who are unaware. These are the same locations we will be broadcasting the Passover service from.
Both before and after services on the Sabbath – brethren will be gathered in the Salem UCG Chatroom at http://tlk.io/salemucg for fellowship opportunities.