Social distancing, masks, & caring for one another
If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. – 1 Corinthians 12:26
I’ve been thinking about these words of Paul a lot lately, as COVID continues to spread throughout our country relatively unchecked and debates rage about social distancing and masks.
How can we – as the body of Christ – suffer with and honor all people?
It’s a good question to ask anytime but it feels particularly relevant now.
In particular, I thought about Paul words last week as we made plans to kickoff much of our congregation’s youth & family ministry in-person before converting to a largely virtual ministry this fall.
As I followed up with parents to see who would and wouldn't attend the weekend’s in-person events, parents expressed concerns: We’d billed these events as socially distanced and masked. Would we really enforce those boundaries? They were tired of letting their kids go to events only to find out that those boundaries weren’t being enforced.
Worried about this, I brought these concerns to my student leadership team meeting and asked what we should do. Without hesitation, one student leader said, “We need to care as much about safety as the person who cares the most.” Another quickly added, “It’s way easier for someone who isn’t worried about the virus to put on a mask than it is for someone who’s really worried about it to interact with other people.”
I doubt either of these student leaders were thinking about the apostle Paul when they spoke. Yet, they might as well have been translating 1 Corinthians 12. Right now, the weaker members among us need us to care for them by social distancing and wearing masks.
This wasn’t something my student leaders needed to debate; It’s simply something they understood.
Want to gather with friends?
Well, then, care for them. Spread out and wear your masks.
In case you’re wondering: Our kickoff turned out great.
Students stayed masked. They willingly socially distanced from one another. And they had a great time.
Prior to Saturday’s event, I’d already decided that this gathering’s purpose was purely fun. While we made a plug for why virtual high school ministry won’t suck, we never pulled out the Bible during our kickoff.
It turns out, we didn’t have to. You know the expression “actions speak louder than words”?
That’s what happened Saturday.
Without ever opening a Bible, our teens communicated Paul’s message about the body of Christ to those in attendance on Saturday.
May we, as adults, have the courage to do likewise.