“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13: 34,35
This week, a close friend of mine sent me a message telling me that her brother had died. She was very close to him and normally spoke to him every day. His death was surprising, but not unexpected, if that makes any sense. He had been sick for a long time and now is relieved of his suffering, but even though my friend is grateful for the end of pain for someone she loves very much, she still was not ready to lose him in her life at this point. His death has been even harder to process because she can’t go and grieve in the same way we all know. She can’t be with her family. She can’t have the ritual of a Celebration of Life or a Graveside service. She can’t share a meal with her friends and relatives. She can’t give and receive hugs or look people in the face and share her grief.
This week a family member of mine also had to go into the hospital, and has had to go into a Rehab program some distance away. Covid has meant that none of the family is able to visit or support my family member in her time at the hospital – or bring her a cup of coffee (knowing how awful hospital coffee is!) or even just rub her arm and tell her that she can do this.
And all of this has brought home some very difficult questions. What does it mean to be ‘church’, to be a community of faith, to be a people who love each other when we can’t see each other face-to-face? How do we do this ‘thing called Love’ when we have to be at a distance from each other in order to be sure that we are following health orders? Are we actually a church if we can’t gather in person? Are we actually family if we can’t gather in person? Are we actually Disciples of Jesus if we can’t gather in person?
Ummmmmm……yes……of course we are. And yeah, you all know that. It does mean that we have to be far more diligent in communication though, right? We have to avail ourselves of any means that we know how to convey love to each other because the ‘easy’ ways of hugs and proximity are out right now. So – my friends, I’m going to encourage you to gather up whatever scraps of energy and imagination that Covid fatigue hasn’t eroded away and figure out how you can convey your love for each other. Call someone. Send emails. Use smoke signals. Zoom into our Prayer and Share or our Bible Study. Write a sweet blog for people to be encouraged by. (Wear your masks and use hand sanitizer. All the time) Do whatever you know. Because – this is how the world will know that we are disciples. By our love for one another.
And right now, I’m thinking that Love is the only thing we’ve got to keep us going. And its really really important. And it really is all that matters.
All of your pictures today are things I can use to convey my Love for you all. What would you add to this motely pile of stuff?
Blessings today, and really, Remember you are Loved,