People everywhere are grieving. That’s the right word, grieving. Even if you haven’t lost someone you love, you’re grieving over other things you’ve lost. It’s OK to feel that way. Your grief is real; it’s legitimate.
One of the things that’s been hurt most is relationships. The distancing that we need to keep us safe physically is taking a toll on us emotionally, spiritually.
The truth is we’ve been suffering from the effects of social distancing for a long time. Robert Putnam published his bestselling book Bowling Alone, on the breakdown of community, in the year 2000.
We talk about this in our church all the time. Society is more connected in some ways than ever before, yet we feel more isolated than ever.
The way we understand community has been changing. For example, after World War II, millions of folks moved to the suburbs. We started building houses with back decks instead of front porches.
And the distance between us increased.
Why is this a problem?
Because we were made for each other. In Genesis 1:25, God said, “Let us make man in our image.” Did you notice the plural language? “Us” and “our.”
We were created in the image of a God who is relational, Father, Son, and Spirit, who existed in community for all time. We were created by this relational God for God and each other.
At the fall, we were banished from God’s presence and our relationships have been hurting ever since.
And the greatest distance of all was between God and us.
This is why social distancing hurts so much. We weren’t created for this. In ways too many to count, we need each other.
But there’s good news.
God closed the distance between God and us. He sent his son Jesus Christ all the way from heaven to earth.
But there’s more. At the end of his life, he was rejected. Jesus experienced the ultimate distancing, cut off from the God he had known from all eternity.
But isolation didn’t get the final word. God raised him to life and raised to him heaven where joined humanity to God.
When we believe, God sends his Spirit so that we will never be truly alone again.