We have all honed our skills as health risk assessors and managers lately. We have been developing these skills all our lives. Many of us still hear a parent’s voice in our head when we start to do something risky or dangerous. The riskiest thing we do is driving while multitasking. Multitasking is eating a hamburger, changing the radio, and trying to find where the napkin went while driving 65 mph down the expressway during the lunch hour. It is safer to fly with the Blue Angels than to drive in rush hour traffic faster than the speed limit with cars all around you looking to change lanes so they can get there faster than you.
Going back to church for in-person gatherings is a new risk for us to assess. Hand sanitizing, face masks and social distancing are the best actions for all to take to keep ourselves and others safe in this time of coronavirus. I have been listening to the stories of the churches who have begun their services this month. Most are working well and tailoring the worship time to the health and age groups within the congregation. Face masks should be worn by everyone while singing and going in and out of the building. Always sanitize your hands when entering and leaving.
I heard of one church who wanted to have some fun with the idea of social distancing. On their first Sunday back, they provided everyone one of those colorful foam water “noodles.” The instruction was to keep the distance of the float and your extended arm from those around you. It was a fun idea and made the point, although they underestimated the pent-up need to play with others. “You’re too close!” “No, you’re to close!” The bonking began, sword fights broke out and the kids howled with excitement. That is what I heard about one church. I could not verify the truthfulness of the story, but it sounds about right. What an amazing time to be alive.
I am more than ready to return to in-church worship. It is very hard to keep postponing our first time back. The Hebrew people spent 70 years in exile before some were able to return to Jerusalem. They wept. They rebuilt. And they sang, I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the House of the Lord.’ (Psalm 122)
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Be glad. And let’s experience the love and power of God together while apart.