Community in Action

Yesterday I listened to a podcast on Fresh Air with University of Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm. This podcast was aired on June 16th. It was about “COVID-19 risks.” It was very interesting and at the end of the interview he mentioned his concern about using the phrase Social Distancing. He said we need to interact socially, it is physical distancing that is requested of us.

    Rudolph Tanzi, the vice chair of neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, says in the June 22 (interestingly I read this yesterday, June 18th) Time Magazine “We use the term social distancing, but it’s completely the wrong term. You want physical distancing. That doesn’t exclude social interaction via some of the(se) Internet platforms.”

    Basically both of these doctors are saying we need to keep connecting (an ongoing action) with each other. We need to be involved with each other socially. The information in the Time Magazine, was talking about loneliness, but essentially said we need to keep connected socially.

    People feel more lonely than ever before. Polls recently taken indicate 31% more  Americans feel lonelier now than before the pandemic. Even people who prefer to be alone are finding it hard to deal with this current limited social interaction.

    I noticed when we had our Congregational meeting on Sunday after the meeting people on zoom were still talking to each other. People were asking questions. There was a clamoring to continue to talk via zoom. After I left people continued to talk for anther twenty minutes. We all long to interact with people whom we haven’t see for a long time. We enjoy being face to face.

    So, yes we need to honor the physical distancing guidelines, but we need to keep in touch with each other socially. We have the means, we just need to initiate that contact. That means all of us need to take some time in the week or each day calling or writing a note or joining a zoom event. We all need to keep it touch with each other.

    God created us for community and we need to overcome the obstacles that keep us from connecting socially. For some of us we don’t enjoy writing, others of us don’t like making phone calls, and some of us get real tired of being on the computer so much. So we need to realize we don’t have to do any of these things every day, but consider what can we do to keep in touch with people we long to see?

    I for one, will try to make more phone calls. I will get out those note cards and try to write one every day. I will plan for a zoom chat with loved ones and friends. And maybe even when I am out at the store I will try to strike up a conversation with the person in front of me or behind me.

    Not only is this social interaction healthy for each of us, it is what we were made for. Let us take up the challenge and connect socially, while honoring the request to distance physically.

    Looking forward to keeping in touch socially with you,

    Pastor Randy

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