Did you see the post of the elderly lady whose husband was quarantined in a retirement center? Because of the Covid-19 she couldn’t go in to be at his bedside, so she went to the window of his room and waved to him through the glass. The picture broke my heart.
But that’s what you do when you’re family. God created us to be blessed by touch. That’s no doubt why Scripture is so specific to describe how Jesus reached out and touched the leper. He could have healed him from the next county, but Jesus knew there is something in a touch. Even the aging Paul, in a follow-up letter to the church in Corinth, urges, “Greet one another with a holy kiss.” (I Cor 16:20) There’s something about family that thrives on touch.
But now arises a medical emergency that says we shouldn’t touch. Shouldn’t congregate. Shouldn’t hug. What’s a Christian to do? What Christians always do in times of extremity: They pray for creativity in fulfilling their assignment.
Enter the digital age.
Fortunately you can’t spread the coronavirus over a wire. It’s not quite the same as a touch but a phone call can be an act of love. Make sure everyone in your church has a membership directory. There are people on that list you probably haven’t seen in years. What a graceful opportunity to let them know they’re still part of the family. Also, what about your Christmas card list? This is your new prayer list.
And be sure you’re not just calling to recite the headlines. Ain’t it awful. Did you hear about… No, you come into their lives as a ray of sunshine. More like, “We don’t understand all this, but it’s wonderful to know we can trust the God of the universe.” Don’t push; just love on ‘em.
Did you see the Ohio neighborhood where the parents brought all the kids out to the curb and they all recited the pledge of allegiance at once. Or the teachers who put banners on their cars that said, “We love you!” and caravanned by their kids’ houses honking their horns.
BTW, intergenerational stuff can be especially powerful. If you have a friend or relative in a nursing home have your youngster call them. There’s something about a child’s voice during a dark time that can brighten the room. Our refrigerator is currently covered with works of “art” painted for us by our greatgrands. We smile every time we walk by.
You can add to the list. And meanwhile we talk confidence, we talk hope, we talk trust. Knowing some day we can hug again.
By Don Jacobsen