Weekly message from Cypress Church: Staying close while social distancing

Colossians 2:5 TNLB  For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.
The above verse is the Apostle Paul expressing his love for those he cannot be with. It’s a bit like the separation of all this social distancing and stay at home restrictions our government has given us. These orders are in place to keep us, as a society, safe and save lives, and it’s working. However, one of the unfortunate side effects is our normal points of connecting with others has changed. This distancing can lead to feeling lonely, disconnected, and even abandoned. Us humans are social creatures and thrive when we are connected and have contact with others. As well, we have set patterns and established schedules to make those connections in line with what is comfortable for us. But that all changed almost two months ago with the onset of this Coronavirus, COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, it looks like social distancing and stay-at-home orders will continue even as some restrictions are loosened. So, the question comes: How do we stay close while keeping our social distancing? We have heard that social distancing does not mean social isolation or relational distancing. So how can we stay connected and stay close?
This hit one of my young grandsons as he was struggling in his little mind why he could not just play with his friends or spend time with his cousins. I feel the same, and though I understand the reasons, my heart wants to reach through video chat and scoop him up in my arms and hold on to him. Wow, I’m getting a little teary eyed just thinking about it. I miss them.
But one of the great abilities God has given each of us, is our creative and resourceful nature. Especially when love is involved, because love finds a way.
1 Corinthians 13:7-8a Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
It means we get creative, innovative, and ingenious. It’s like the young moms that just needed some interaction with other young moms so they went to a parking lot, parked their four cars with the backs of their SUV’s facing each other, six plus feet apart, and sat in the back hatch of their cars, chatting. It’s using Zoom or Facetime for a family game night or for having dinner together or dessert. It’s sending letters, emails, texts, and making calls. I know I have stopped and talked more with my neighbors than before; yes, keeping at the appropriate distance. See, we were meant to be connected.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him-a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
Just because we are to keep physically distant, does not mean we can’t find ways to use the avenues we do have and find a way to connect. Sure, it will take a bit more effort, but the effort connects us as well. I have heard of people doing drive-by birthday parties, drive-by graduation celebrations, end of cancer treatment parades for friends, and bike caravans to honor heroes.  What could you do to creatively connect with those you love?
We do need each other. We are actually better together.
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
Hebrews 10: 24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
The idea is to make the efforts to meet together despite the obstacles. We need others to sharpen us and spur us on to love and good works. I just got off a Facetime call with one of my grandsons. He went up in the attic with me. I showed him around and we chatted about all the things up there. His excitement inspired me to get back up there and sort a few things out. We are better together. So, let’s get creative and stay close even with social distancing.
Though church is not so much a gathering place these days, it can be a time we connect over a chat session or knowing others are viewing the same worship gathering. If you don’t already have an online Sunday church gathering, or would like to try ours, we would like to invite you to Neighborhood Church. We have two campuses. Our website has all the information you would need. Every Sunday we learn from the Bible and seek to know God more, and pray. Here is the link to our live-streaming services (see live.neighborhoodchurch.com)  As well, if you would like to view any of our past worship gatherings visit our YouTube channel.