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When we go back, it won't be like it was before

Elaine Ruth • Jun 3, 2020 at 11:00 AM

Editor’s Note: With so many churches in our area having to suspend worship services during the coronavirus pandemic, we are asking local pastors to partner with us in bringing a daily message of hope and comfort to readers during this difficult time.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

My favorite Bible verse is Micah 6:8. I’ve been thinking about it lately in terms of our current situation with the pandemic. If the way we live is just, and kind, and humble, I think we will all be alright. Justice, mercy and humility: That’s how we can take care of each other. It is what God requires of us.

Justice is doing what is morally upright or good. Mercy is another word for kindness. Humility is an understanding of our worth in relation to God. Humility is the ability to recognize that we may not know everything. It helps us to see that we are not more important than anyone else. Humility is a little harder for most of us.

In the Letter to the Philippians, the Apostle Paul explains humility to us: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

A truly humble person will recognize the best way we can serve God is to take care of other people. When we insist on our rights, and our privileges, and our preferences, we say that we are more important than others.

Many of us are eager to go back to worshiping together in our church sanctuaries; but when we go back, it won’t be like it was before. We know our congregations are filled with people who are vulnerable to the coronavirus. Based on what they have learned from medical experts and government officials, our church leaders will have made the best decisions they can to ensure we can worship together safely.

Church leaders are putting precautions in place out of an abundance of love for their congregations, not from a need to exert authority. They are praying and agonizing over the decisions they are making. Let’s be kind and cooperative as we gather again. After all, these are temporary measures. This is just one more way we can love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

The Rev. Elaine Ruth is pastor at First United Methodist Church in Surgoinsville.

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