Coronavirus and Community
For nearly a year now, our world has been dramatically altered as we seek to protect one another from Covid-19. In the midst of the discussions on how to best combat this virus, we’re seeing our society wrestle with the impacts these measures have on people who have been separated from one another for a significant amount of time.
The effects that come from a lack of social interaction include an increase in depression and anxiety. To try to fill in what’s missing, a large number of people have turned to the use of technology designed to connect people virtually. Companies like Zoom, which was previously only used by a small percentage of the population, is now commonly used among a large number of American households. The virus, and the measures that were introduced to slow its spread, drastically simplified life in our culture, pulling the curtain back to reveal universal truths about who we are and how we were created.
One of God’s gifts of common grace to the world is the desire for community. He’s wired each and every one of us with a longing for a place where we belong. Deep within us, we all desire interaction with others. We desire interaction with one another and deep relationships where we can be known and loved. While the intensity of this desire may change depending on the person, the age of social distancing has shown just how ubiquitous the desire is.
Community is an essential component in our growth as Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is one of the reasons why explaining salvation only as “receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior” can be a bit problematic. While salvation involves taking responsibility for one’s own sin, repenting, and trusting Christ for forgiveness on a personal level, the Bible is clear that we have been redeemed to a community of believers.
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. -1 Peter 2:10
During the birth of the church in the beginning of the book of Acts, those who repented and trusted in Christ immediately came together as a community: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common.” -Acts 2:42-44
Lord willing, as society begins to slowly return to the way things were before, now is the time for us to take an honest look at what we’ve prioritized and return back to what God has called us to be: a community of believers built on the foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now is the time to simplify. Now is the time to push back against the idea of church as an experience. Now is the time to encourage others to trust Jesus for salvation and come into the community of God’s people. Then- and only then- will we find the deep community our souls long for.
Note: This is an updated blogpost that first appeared on Matt Hall’s personal blog, A Glorious Redemption.
Matt Hall is an NGU alum who has served as the Pastor of College and Youth at Mountain Creek since August, 2019.