Posted: March 16, 2020
Around the world, churches are suspending in-person worship. This is a hard but necessary thing: For now, the best way to love our neighbors is from a distance. The federal government recommends not gathering in groups of more than 10, even if we sit far apart.
Unfortunately, not all pastors have suspended services yet. In Florida, Rodney Howard-Browne's River at Tampa Bay Church has held multiple services with hundreds of worshipers, and is considering throwing the doors open once again on Easter.
In Louisiana, dozens of buses continue to bring people to to Baton Rouge's Life Tabernacle Church, where Pastor Tony Spell jumps into pews to dangerously hug and lay hands on his parishioners. Louisiana has the nation's fourth-highest coronavirus death toll. Still other examples pour in from Ohio, California, Idaho, and elsewhere.
There is nothing Christian about putting parishioners or their families and communities in danger. As the Rev. Jacqui Lewis, Ph.D., says, "Revolutionary Love means not sharing this virus... Love looks like live-streamed worship." Our challenge now as Christians is to find new ways of being God's hands in the world, remembering that the church is found not inside a building but in the hearts of each and every Christian, no matter where we are.
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