I’ve been thinking a little about the term ‘Social distancing’ and how this seems like the opposite of what Jesus called us to do. Jesus himself crossed boundaries, touch the ‘unclean’, hung out with the undesirables and sinners, people who the religious elite would never think to associate with. He welcomed people touching him and said let the children come to me. Yet, in these weird and strange times we are being asked to keep ourselves socially distant, the term ‘I wouldn’t touch them with a barge pole’ as unkind as it is, seems to be the order of the day.
At the same time people are finding ways to come closer to each other – through phone calls, video conferencing, social media and any other ways we can keep in touch. We are social beings and we need to connect with others.
Yet, Jesus also learnt to ‘come away’, when he was tired and needed to renew his strength, when he was led into the wilderness by the Spirit and when he just needed to spend some time with his Dad, isolation was also part of his life. His was a life of Action, getting up close to people and also one of Contemplation, connecting deeply with his Father.
In the days and weeks ahead, as we face boredom, and frustration and fear and the feeling of being trapped, I hope you can find little moments where you can escape to be with God. Times when you can ‘come away’ and rediscover your first love, settle into the ground of your being and ensconce yourself in the Holy presence that surrounds your each and every moment.
As you socially distance yourself, may you be drawn closer to the one who desires you to welcome him in.