Seems like the notion of “cancel culture” just took on a whole new dimension.
School — canceled. Vacation– canceled. Basketball tournaments and horse races– both the lifeblood of my people– canceled. Conferences, retreats, events of all kinds– canceled, eliminated, done-zo. In a matter of a few days, this thing has gone from “wash your hands and cover your cough” to a significant lifestyle change that most of us have not experienced in our lifetime.
Of all the cancellations, perhaps the most unnerving of all is the call, in many areas, to cancel church worship services. This seems counterintuitive in a time when people are anxious and need community; when people are facing economic uncertainty and need support; and when people are fearful and need the comfort of prayer and connection. And yet– we have to acknowledge that “large gatherings” are a hotspot for the spread of disease, and that church services can be pretty cozy experiences as far as personal space goes. For all of our best efforts to eliminate hand shaking and peace passing, and to modify communion practices, the best way to protect folks right now is to keep them apart.
It’s sad. It’s painful. It goes against every impulse of church leaders who proclaim faith in a God who is bigger than human fear. And it rubs up against the ego of those who think of themselves as hardy enough to weather any storm and get to church early to get the coffee going.
I get it. I really do. But sometimes, painful as it is, cancelling is the responsible, compassionate thing to do, and anything else is just hubris. Think of this illness as the black ice of liability. If there is a blizzard, you might be able to get to church. But if you can’t clear the sidewalks and the parking lots, do you really want to invite people into a hazard situation–the invisible threat that is just under the surface? This is like that. Sure, folks who are not sick are going to feel like they should still come to church. But they could be carrying something they don’t know they have yet, and pass it right on to their elderly or immunocompromised neighbor.
There are many unknowns here. There is unprecedented territory ahead, and nobody can say how long it might last. So if it does come down to canceling services at your place, here are some things to remember, and some ways to keep “being the Church,” even when you can’t be in the church building.
“Cancel culture” might have a whole new meaning; but “let the Church be the Church” still stands.
Shared from https://www.patheos.com/