Social Distancing Not Spiritual Distancing

Social distancing was practiced even in biblical times.  It even had to do with disease.  In the first century people were continuing to battle leprosy.  Leprosy is a generic term used to denote a variety of skin disorders from psoriasis to true leprosy.  Its symptoms ranged from white patches on the skin to running sores to the loss of digits on the finger and toes.  For the Hebrew this disease was dreaded because it meant a person who had leprosy was ceremonially unclean, or understood differently, unfit to worship God.  Anyone who had contact with a leper was then also considered unclean.  The result is that lepers were separated out and truly socially distanced, but worse than that, they were spiritually distanced.  Because of the disease they were separated from the healthy and whole so that those without the disease could continue to worship.

Jesus did not consider there to be a distinction between clean or unclean from a person’s physical condition.  A person’s outward condition did not make one unclean; rather it was what was in a man’s heart that made him unclean.  Only a wrong heart toward God could cause one to be spiritually distanced from God.  Jesus ministered to the lepers because their spiritual need was greater than their physical need, although the compassionate Savior could easily heal the sick, diseased, blind, and lame, His priority was healing the soul through salvation. In Mark 1:39-45, we Jesus dealing with a leper reaching out to touch the “unclean” in order to heal him physically while also healing him spiritually.

I think it is important to understand that our Savior Jesus Christ was compassionate and cared for men who were lost and cast aside, those who were socially and spiritually distanced.  We have instructed to practice social distancing and for the purpose of minimizing the spread of the corona virus.  The greater threat as we do so is to spiritually distance ourselves not only from one another but even our Lord.  Our congregational gathering and worship is a key way we encourage one another to seek God, praise God, to live out His Word each week.  When that does not happen, as it is not for the time being, spiritual distancing becomes a reality.  With the compassion and love that Jesus has given us we must be intentional in keeping in touch with one another for the sake of encouraging one another to love God and people and do what is good and right.  The SOS women’s class has chosen to continue their Bible Study through Zoom meetings (online format) which is fantastic.  So, my charge for EBC during this time is to socially distance for physical health, but don’t spiritually distance so you can remain spiritually healthy!


Footnote:  Yesterday and today there have been plumbers in the new building installing plumbing for the restrooms.  God’s got this!