Love and social distancing

Living with social distancing

As social distancing restrictions are being relaxed, without exception, every Federal and State leader and chief medical officer has warned of the dangers of complacency and a second wave of infection.

Last Saturday afternoon, my wife and I experienced complacency first hand as we engaged in a brief episode of non-essential shopping.  At a major retailer, shoppers were narrowly avoiding one another like cautious children on the Ekka dodgems.  The 1.5 metre rule being observed in the breach.

This week’s Gospel

Social distancing is challenging. Humans are inherently social creatures and desire connection and intimacy because God is profoundly social. In part, today’s Gospel, Matthew 28: 16 – 20 makes this point.  Here, Jesus commissions ‘the disciples to go make disciples and baptise in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit’.  The early Church Fathers used the Greek word ‘perichoresis’ meaning ‘mutual indwelling’ to describe the intimate relationships between Father, Son and Holy Spirit within God.  To achieve the same purpose some contemporary theologians employ the phrase ‘one God in community’.  In this reading Jesus invites us to participate in the intimate life of God and commissions us to invite others.

Humans are inherently social creatures and desire connection and intimacy

How do we invite others while observing current social distancing restrictions such as limited gatherings in Christian Churches? Jesus’ commission is informed by another reading from Matthew’s Gospel, namely Jesus’ commandment to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind …  Love your neighbour as yourself’.  Love is understood here as doing the best by God, others, ourselves and creation.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind … Love your neighbour as yourself.

Love and social distancing

While Christians have distinctive views of God as Trinity, people of good will from all religious traditions or none are joined in our common desire to better love God (as God is understood or not), others, ourselves and creation. 

Perhaps the most loving action we can all take at this time is to socially distance to ensure infection control and care for the vulnerable while maintaining social interaction and support.

Perhaps the most loving action we can all take at this time is to socially distance

Go make disciples … in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit … Love God … Love your neighbour as yourself.

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