Reading

Heb 10:23-25    Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
 

Reflection

The world has changed with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic. And that raises questions about how we might live in this strange new world of social distancing, food hoarding, and anxiety affliction.
 
The passage from Hebrews reminds us to hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering. That means we do not allow external circumstances to dictate our ultimate allegiance. The world may have change, and our daily lives may look a little different but our commitment to Jesus should remain uncompromised. In fact, we should be intentional about holding our course in following Jesus. The reason for that is given in our passage. Jesus, the one who has made promises to us, is faithful. Because Jesus is faithful, no matter what is happening in our world we can trust that he is the one who can ultimately help us. It may feel like a storm is raging and our boats are being rocked, but Jesus is our hope and he is the one to whom we can look to for help, reassurance, guidance and salvation. Jesus is the one who can calm the external storm rocking the boat, with the waves crashing down. Furthermore, Jesus is also the one who can calm the internal storm of anxiety and fear raging in our hearts. We can trust that he is able to do this because he has made promises to us and is faithful to keep his promises.
 
Verse 24 provides a further challenge, now is a particularly apt time to provoke one another to love and good deeds. Others may be tempted to hoard goods and resources, but because we have Jesus and his instructions to love one another and share our goods, we can tangibly benefit those in need and exercise love to those in need. This raises complications in our current way of life, particularly from verse 25. How do we obey Scripture about not neglecting to meet together, and remain safe and physically apart in halting the spread of this virus? This is where digital consumption can be, and is proving to be, a major positive. Churches all around the world are switching to online services or rethinking the way they gather. People are connecting regularly through FaceTime and Skype, even hosting small-group meetings through digital interfaces, encouraging one another and providing much needed social support.
 
We can remain faithful to the intention of Heb 10:25 and still meet together, we just might not do that with close physical proximity. Physical proximity is important; I would argue a very important aspect of Christian community. However, in times of a pandemic, wisdom allows us to be flexible and intentional about sustaining relationships and faithfulness to Jesus is a variety of ways that do not prove detrimental to others and ourselves. So let us consume digitally and take advantage of the wonderful opportunities to communicate care, commitment and solidarity with those we cannot physically be close to.

 

Prayer

Gracious God thank you for the wonders of the modern world of technology. Thank you that we are able to connect and stay in touch with people who are physically distant. We pray for wisdom to navigate and negotiate this strange new world of physical distancing. Please keep us safe and connected. Thank you
 

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