Well, this has all gone on much longer than anyone thought when it got started. We all adjusted. Live-stream worship. Communion at home. Bible study via Zoom. And frankly, more rest and less events, which has allowed space for reflection (and/or more conversations about COVID-19).
In the meantime, I’m seeing inspiring creativity on the margins of the quarantine, ways all y’all are discovering how to be the body of Christ in spite of (possibly even because of) the pandemic, and I offer this top ten list as a celebration of those approaches.
I also offer these as encouragement. Try some of them. Churches are probably one of the absolutely worst places to open back up right now in most parts of the country, so I’d say if I’m honest we might not be back to gathering in church buildings until 2021.
Might as well use these and other models as examples for how to keep being church.
And remember, Jesus said “Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58).
We don’t need to gather in church buildings to be the body of Christ. Church might be most like Jesus when it is dis-placed.
10. Take a Sunday drive. I grew up doing this with my grandparents. It was a chance to see how the crops were doing on the farm. Then we’d get ice cream. A retired pastor in our congregation and his wife have stopped by our house and many others Sunday afternoons just to wave and say hi. It’s socially distant and iconic. What’s not to love?
9. Use a handheld device or laptop to record a lo-fi song or poem. We’re still just using a laptop to record our live worship Sunday mornings, and we probably will keep doing that, as a low tech reminder that those who are watching via live stream are “there,” that there’s a there there that is much more than just an electronic connect. Use that same device to participate in gospel-centered advocacy. Perhaps especially focus on creation care?
8. Walk the labyrinth. It’s on the church grounds, outdoors, and so very safe. Never underestimate the power of prayer. And right now while you walk there are two visual reminders for focused prayer on our banner. Pride. And #BlackLivesMatter.
7. Bake bread or make your own wine. I know we’re all cooking more. Some of you are making amazing bread in order to set up a lovely communion service in your home on Sundays.
6. Randomly call members of your church. Or text them. Or send them an FB message. Interestingly, when I recently posted an opportunity to send cards to our homebound and elderly members, it was neighbors of the congregation even more than actual members who responded and said they’d do so. Especially small children drawing cards. If the kids can do it, so can you!
5. Give cash to someone. I know some of us are doing just fine right now financially while others are really struggling. So give some of that cash away. Don’t just give them chicken or old clothes. Give cold hard cash. Right a check. Or donate to a fund-raiser that is giving away cash. It’s the best way to help families right now.
4. Dance. Play board games. Sing. Cuddle the dog. Pet the cat. Hug a tree. Walk. Mold some clay. Paint something. Some of our artists have been very active lately, designing our banners, drawing our bulletin covers, painting murals in town. We can learn from the artists. Make something. Create.
3. Learn koine Greek. Or take a nap. Your pick.
2. Review the Works of Mercy, think about how they can be adapted to life right now, and do one. Just one. They are: To feed the hungry.
To give water to the thirsty.
To clothe the naked.
To shelter the homeless.
To visit the sick.
To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive.
To bury the dead.
1. Make up your own way (because the body of Christ functions really well when it is free and distributed) and then share that way with us, so we can inspire others.