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Fellowship wins, even with pandemic's shelter-in-place

The current pandemic, leading to folks practicing social distancing and several areas prohibiting group gatherings, could easily isolate us from those we love. It could keep us out of encouraging fellowship and socialization.

Our most introverted friends are joking about how they have prepared their whole lives for such a time. But our extroverted ones are moaning and groaning. Most of us fall somewhere in-between.

But perhaps we all benefit from some form of mutual interaction, at least occasionally, even if our desired doses differ. That’s probably what the Bible means, when it says:

“And let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us encourage one another with words of hope. Let us do this even more as you see Christ’s return approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25, NIRV)

How can fellow believers get together, when respected authorities tell us to stay apart?

We have to get a little creative, like my small group did.

This group of ladies, representing maybe 10 very different churches, has gathered for many years. We go to the mat for each other in prayer. We cheer one another on, but we also exhort in love, when it’s needed. We are a safe place, so this happens pretty seamlessly. And we laugh. Oh, how we laugh.

I could describe every one of these dear friends this way:

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.” (Proverbs 31:25-26, NLT)

Clearly, we can all grasp the seriousness of the current situation. We understand that there is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4, NIV).

But we also remind one another that God is still God. Lately, we’ve been reminding each other of that even more than usual.

Because of this coronavirus situation, we have canceled our weekly get-togethers.

And we miss one another. So we decided to meet anyway, but in a much safer way (for the time being). Like many churches, organizations, and businesses, we took to the worldwide web.

We decided to go virtual with our Bible study, while the world rides out this pandemic.

We each downloaded a particular free app on our smart phones or tablets. At the appointed hour, the group leader opened the session. We basically video-chatted. After 30 minutes, the session timed out, and we were disconnected from the call.

At that point, several members went to our private Facebook page and began posting comments, relevant Scriptures, and worship song videos to share.

We’re still plugged in, even if we cannot gather face-to-face for a while.

It’s amazing what a difference a little time with friends can make. (I miss them again already.)

Adapted from public domain image

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