When Everything Else is Closed…

A lot of school districts are making the decision to return to online education, at least for part of the fall 2020 semester.

I have heard from some who work in the tech industry in Silicon Valley that they expect to work from home until well into 2021.

A lot of businesses that make use of traditional office space are making radical adjustments, reducing the number of people in the building and asking more employees to work from home.

Daycares are trying to open under nearly impossible restrictions.

It is still a bit of work to get into your favorite restaurant for a meal.

Concerts are non-existent, and some public officials are tying to close beaches and trails.

Nearly every one of your third spaces is closed.

Pastor, if your church is open to any degree, you may have become your community’s primary public meeting space.

We are hardwired to be social creatures, and when politics and fear take a lot of our socialization away from us, we struggle in unexpected ways. The strong of heart are weakened. Those who lack strength of character or strong social networks are falling over the edge. Addictions are up. Suicides are up. Spousal and child abuse are up. Porn viewing is up. Talk with nearly anyone you want, and you will find all sorts of invisible anxieties and dis-ease. Sleepless nights, strained relationships, children who lack peer interaction, and a host of other issues plague us.

Pastor, if you can open, you need to open. The need is broader and deeper than it has been in our culture in a very long time (ever?). Kids need peers. Families need each other. Hallways need teens talking and planning. Elders need to see and hear children. Children need to see and hear elders. The unstable need stability. The confused need a lighthouse of hope and truth. We all need to be reminded that God is still God, and that we are still under his watchful eye.

People need reasons to think about and hope for the future, the kinds of reasons that can only come from a kingdom of mercy and redemption, not from a kingdom ruled by the selfish, angry and confused. Church offers these reasons like no other institution can. I encourage you to not use the pandemic as a reason to slink back, but to use the rising need around us to step forward.

We all need to be reminded that God is still God, and that we are still under his watchful eye.

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