I remember it well. Standing before you just two weeks ago, I announced that the upcoming week would be filled with challenges. You’ll recall, THAT week started with a time change, and included both a full moon and a Friday the 13th. Little did we know what challenges awaited us.

Governments around the world have since ordered “shut downs” and have issued highly restrictive “quarantines” in an effort to “flatten the curve” and combat the spread of the Coronavirus.

The concept of “quarantine” was first introduced in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in the latter part of the 14th century. As the “Black Plague” ravaged Europe and Asia, Dubrovnik required 40 days of isolation before anyone entered the city. This 40-day period is the origin of the word “quarantine,” from the Italian meaning “forty days.”

Forty days.

Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent and tomorrow, Monday, March 23, will be our 23rd day of Lent, the Christian season encompassing the 40 days leading up to Easter. Lent is a special time for denying self and putting others first, beginning with Jesus.

Two thousand years ago, following Jesus could and most likely would cost you your life. Today, we struggle to make it through a week with only two rolls of toilet paper in the house.

Following Jesus today means loving God and loving others… nothing more and nothing less.

Anyone remember the popular and powerful AT&T slogan of 1979?

We live in a world where we can “reach out and touch someone” in newer and faster and better ways today. And here is my challenge to you.

Let’s continue being the church during this extra-ordinary time. We have the same opportunities and abilities we had two weeks ago. Let’s continue to love God more and love others better. Let’s continue to practice the “one another’s” of scripture… all to the Glory of God!

I do not like the term “social distancing,” but I realize “respect proximity and honor personal space” is not as “catchy” a phrase. We can and should still “socialize,” just in healthier and safer ways. We can send a card or note of encouragement through snail mail or email. We can speak to one another over the phone. And we can be virtually present with others through FaceTime or Skype.

Let’s be the church!

Finally, remember the words of Paul to the church then and now:

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Love, Prayers, and Blessings!

Pastor Ken