We are Made for Community…not Zoom
This year, our family “celebrated” Easter together via Zoom. I’m a huge fan of Zoom, but not as a gratifying substitute for a family gathering. Each of us in our own homes. Cooking for ourselves. Missing one another. Not the same. We hope it’s never to be repeated again.
When it came time for our 4pm Zoom call, we were eager for our connection. It was as fun as it could possibly be…sharing stories, listening and affirming one another, enjoying a few laughs, cooing at the two babies, and even the dog. But, it certainly wasn’t our preference, even though we made the best of it.
What we longed for was in-person community. Family hugs and kisses. Physical presence at the dining room table. Cooking, cleaning, relaxing…playing a game, taking a walk, enjoying a meal. COVID-19 shut that down. Zoom made it possible, but it wasn’t our preference.
I’m not bitter about it, but certainly disappointed. Resurrection Sunday is the highlight of the Christian year. Not only did our family meet by Zoom, but so did our church family. It was deeply meaningful in worship and liturgy, but noticeably lacking in one very significant way: community.
God made us for community. Isolation is not God’s preference, unless for silence and solitude and the quiet disciplines of the spiritual life. But, when we worship, fellowship, and serve others in mission, we are designed for each of those priorities to be achieved in community.
As we are all fulfilling the mandate to maintain physical distance, perhaps your longing for community is growing too. As we anticipate this pandemic to someday be over, how is it that we can prepare our hearts and minds for reentry into community? Here are a few of my musings for what it’s worth…
- Pray for your community. We can’t be together physically but we certainly can pray. Thank God for your community and pray blessings over each member of your community, whether it’s your local church, small group, ministry team, etc.
- Send notes of encouragement to your community. The easiest is via email but perhaps you could send a hand-written note instead.
- Connect with individual members of your community. Call a soul friend for mutual encouragement, or reach out to someone living alone or in need. Drop off a meal or flowers or a note of encouragement.
- Create a gift to offer your community. Write a poem about your community or create a collage of photos that remind you of your community or draw a picture, even with words, to describe what your community means to you. Share that when appropriate.
- Stay in touch with your community…yes, via Zoom or FaceTime or Google Hangouts…until the restrictions are over and you can meet face to face.
- Be intentional in noticing how God has defined community in the Scriptures. Do some research (it’s tempting to tell you where to read, but I’ll let you find out!) and then share your findings with your community.
- Inventory your heart about your community, asking yourself (prayerfully) how you’ve contributed positively to your community and confess before the Lord how you’ve stood in the way of building healthy community. Be honest and seek forgiveness if necessary.
We are made for community. Church. Neighborhood. Friendship. Family. Marriage. All the primary relationships of life help us define community. Lean in to the gifts of community now and hopefully we’ll all be better prepared to reengage with one another sooner than later.