For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you —or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. Romans 1:11-12
As I write this, I have spent most of the last several months in self-isolation. That “stay at home” decision, has limited face-to-face contact with others. In my case, worship has been over Zoom, meaning that I am able to interact with my fellow congregation members but not have that human touch that is so important to me.
Reading this passage from Romans, I realized that my experience is not new – not a surprise. Much of the New Testament is made up of letters from one Christian community to another. Paul, in Romans, writes clearly that he was missing the face-to-face mutual encouragement in the faith – and he didn’t have Zoom! Yet, Paul’s letters to the different churches are now mainstays for us, timeless reminders of the many ways faith can be shared between believers, even when not physically together. The connection we have through Christ is what keeps us from ever being truly alone.
Prayer: Gracious God, who created all humanity in your image: Make us grateful for the companionship of other people, receiving them as gifts of your grace; Shape us into companions for all who yearn for community; And satisfy with your own gracious gifts those of our sisters and brothers, and all God’s people, who are isolated from one another. (Adapted from the Diaconal Litany, for this time of separation.)
Deaconess Cheryl Erdmann, Loves Park, IL