Physically distant, spiritually united

Dear friends,

Yesterday we held our last in-person gathering in the church sanctuary, at least for a while. This second meeting of the COVID-19 working group saw seven of us sitting physically distant in a wide circle of chairs. But even though we were careful yesterday, when we meet next Monday, it will be through the online video-conferencing tool Zoom.

I continue to be thrilled with Zoom. Tomorrow evening, Bryan LeGrow has called a Zoom meeting of choir members, which I am sure we will appreciate.

Last evening, my four siblings and me along with our spouses meet via Zoom for a check-in that spanned households in St. Albert, Edmonton, Toronto, and Washington DC. We loved being together this way, and we pledged to do this every week.

Much of our spiritual power as a church comes from gathering. But in the face of the pandemic, most of us are spending almost all of our time at home.

This practice has been called “social distancing,” but I agree with those who prefer “physical distancing.” Although physically separate, we are going through this crisis together. We can only cope with it, learn from it, and overcome it together. So, even though we are physically separate, Mill Woods United remains a gathered community of faith.

Another phrase I like is “altruistic distancing.” Yes, we are staying at home to keep ourselves safe. But mostly, we are doing this as an offering to the community. Together, we are trying to flatten the curve of infections so that our healthcare system and its courageous personnel don’t become overwhelmed. During the pandemic, we are uniting in love by staying physically apart.

So, let us do all we can to maintain our social and spiritual connections during the pandemic — through phone calls, Zoom meetings, comments on Facebook threads or posts like this one, emails, video chats, snail mail, and through prayer.

Even when we can’t see one another or be in the same space together, we continue to be united at both the depths of our souls and the heights of our spirits. Everyone on earth shares a common ancestry, and we are all hurt by similar wounds and blessed by the common gifts of life and culture.

We are not alone. We are one in the Spirit. Let us live into this gracious reality now more than ever.


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One Comment

  1. John

    Thanks for this Ian! I love the term “altruistic distancing”! I am buoyed by the stories of so many people altruistically distancing. I heard a beautiful rendition of “My heart will go on” from a keyboard player and a saxophone player on the balconies of Madrid the other day!!

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