WE CHOOSE UNITY OVER UNIFORMITY
You may have noticed that not everyone in our church thinks the same. Name the topic and there are almost as many opinions as people. The hardest part of regathering a church like ours in a time like this is navigating how to honor people who see or do things differently from us. I believe we can choose unity without uniformity by choosing to be responsible, respectful and reasonable.
We choose to be responsible
We have a responsible plan to be socially distanced outside in fresh air and to wear masks when that is not possible (like if you have to go to the bathroom inside). But controlling what people actually do is a different story. The only person we can each control is ourself. So we need your help controlling you. You must choose to be responsible for yourself.
We choose to be respectful
When we have been apart for a long time from people we love, it’s natural to want to hug, shake hands, or otherwise get up in each others faces. But doing so creates complications. Not only might it be a quick way to spread a virus, but it could violate someone else’s boundaries. Beyond that, it may send signals to outsiders that we don’t take people’s health seriously. We all must choose to respectful of each other’s boundaries.
We choose to be reasonable
On the other hand some may be offended that we are not being strict enough. Some children may play together. People might hug. Many will not be wearing masks. Gathering as a church outside will be safe and socially distanced, but it will not be a controlled environment. We will choose to be reasonable in our expectations and give each other extra grace.
We choose unity on purpose
Our love and respect for each other will make all the difference. We don’t need uniformity to have unity. What we need is for each person to “look out not just for your own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:4) We need to “accept one another just as God in Christ has accepted you.” (Rom. 15:7)
Don’t Assume. Ask.
Taylor Bedoya, our kids ministry family pastor, said she uses this question to ask about the boundaries of people she meets: “Are you hugging, pounding it or air-fiving?” I think it’s a playful and helpful way to ask an awkward question.
For the record: Though I am normally a hugger, I am not hugging outside my family right now. I don’t even want to fist bump hundreds of people. In fact, though I will wear a mask when needed, I prefer just keeping enough distance not to need one. Air-five me. (I’ll even take an air-hug if you’ve got it!)
I’ll give you grace and extra space and won’t breathe in your face.
You give me grace and extra space and don’t breathe in my face.
It will be great to be together again all in one place.
I can’t wait to see you Sunday! – Todd