This is NOT a snow day

Good afternoon friends. I'm writing to you from my home office. To slow the spread of COVID-19 in my community, I've decided to practice social distancing for the next two weeks. Today is day 2 of social distancing for me.

This means I'll be working from home. And leaving my home only to go to the grocery store, pharmacy, and (hopefully) for an afternoon walk. I plan to stay connected with folks online and on my phone. I hope this blog is one way we can stay connected with each other even when we aren't physically present with each other.

Yesterday marked the Third Sunday in Lent for western Christians. This means we are about halfway to Easter Sunday. This morning I was reflecting on the passage from Isaiah that I preached on on the First Sunday in Lent. It is from Isaiah 58:6-7.

Isaiah proclaims:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

When I preached on this passage just three short weeks ago, I had no idea that the fast I would choose for Lent would be to close the church, move worship online, and not leave my apartment for two weeks. This isn't the fast that I want, but it is the fast I have chosen.

I have chosen this fast for my congregant Dorothy. Who turns 93 this week. And is at a super high risk for complications from COVID-19. I have chosen this fast for my CrossFIt buddy Laura who has asthma. God forbid she has an asthma attack and there isn't a hospital bed for her. I have chosen this fast for my mother. A nurse at Jefferson Hospital. Who I worry will contract COVID-19 while caring for the sickest among us.

I won't lie, I'm not super excited to spend the next two weeks at home alone. Even as an introvert, I need social interaction to stay sane. I wanted to share with you what I'm doing to help stay connected with folks as I stay home:

1. Limiting screen time. These days away from the church are not snow days. Now is not the time to be spending all day binging Netflix shows. Also, people are posting nonsense on social media, and re-sharing fake statistics. At the same time, I won't be avoiding all screen time- I need to stay connected with other humans or I'll go stir crazy. So I'm doing my best to limit screen and tv time.

2. Checking in with family via FaceTime. I'm trying to call my family once a day. It helps to be able to see them when I can't be physically present with them. I'm ramping up my efforts to connect with friends and collegues via e-mail and text messages. It helps me feel a little less alone!

3. Creative communication with church staff and church folks- I am working on ways to stay in communication with everyone in my two churches. No one communication system is perfect, so I'm working on communicating across various means (e-mail, letters, phone, text messages, and social media). I would like to (virtually) hug every English teacher I've ever had. Who have all given me the variety of tools I need to communicate effectively in this moment.

I want to end our time together today by asking you what you are doing to love your neighbors and care for your community as COVID-19 enters out city? Post your thoughts in the comments. I look forward to sharing more thoughts with you tomorrow!

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