Bucket Lists, Binge Watching, and Social Distancing

It’s intriguing how quickly people adopt the latest way of labeling something. It becomes a shibboleth to me gauging how close one is to the world around them. This may be too strident of a judgment, something Logia editors said about my writing, but it seem to me but one step away from saying there are 4 lights when I know there are 3 because someone demands I do so under duress. However, this is not about that but about the last term: Social Distancing.

How quickly churches have adopted this practice and proclaimed loudly they were doing so. Mind you among these churches are those who practice open Communion and unionism (both which evidence altar and pulpit fellowship with those who don’t share their confession.). They are proud of their social distancing while completely ignoring the spiritual distancing Scripture requires. They are afraid of communicable diseases but the fear of God is not before their eyes (Ps. 36:1). They are afraid of the consequences of being too physically close during this time of pestilence, but they have no fear of spiritual closeness with error.

The government tells them thou shalt keep 3-6 feet between people and they’re dutifully  repeating that on their web sites and I’m sure before each service. They probably do this with that good natured chuckle, that avuncularity that the Happy-Clappy church leader is adept at. The government says thou shalt and they do, but what about what God says?

God says light has no fellowship with darkness (2 Cor. 6:4), i.e. you can’t bring together contrary teachings of what the Bible says. God says, “Mark those who teach contrary to the doctrine you have learned and avoid them” (Rom. 16:17). God says, “Those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.  That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep” (1 Cor. 11:29-30).

God says the consequences of not practicing spiritual distancing with those who can’t or won’t discern the Body of Christ in Communion, or even deny it is there at all, is weakness, sickness, and death. And please note; He doesn’t say this only of the individual eating and drinking improperly. The weakness, sickness, and death happens “among you” plural. So, while I can’t say if you refuse to practice social distancing you will certainly get the Coronavirus, I can say those of you going to open Communion churches and sitting at the feet of pastors doing joint wedding and funerals, are certainly spiritually suffering the consequences and you are in the queue for the physical ones of: weakness, sickness, and death.

But what do I know? I have no CDC behind me; I have no WHO studies to point you to. I don’t even have a neat term like social distancing. In fact, I have the old, stodgy, unpopular term closed Communion which even pastors but particularly lay people are embarrassed by. But that’s like the pharmacist being embarrassed at keeping his bottles closed to those without a prescription. That’s called being responsible, ethical, and lawful. Practicing closed Communion is too, not according to the language of men but that of God.

About Rev. Paul R. Harris

Ordained pastor of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
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