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We are not alone

It’s the end of another long week, but I don’t know what to say to you. We have had to go through another week of “social distancing.” If you are one of our devoted health care workers (like my wife), you have had to go into work not knowing for sure if you have caught this scary bug for which there is no known cure.

Kind of hard to think that once upon a time taking a day off without any guilt sounded like a luxury. Now it is a necessity for all of us, and for all of those who are still trying to figure out how to combat this thing.

For most of us, what we are combating these days is loneliness. If you are a young parent, you are trying mightily to help your children keep up with their schoolwork. College students are trying to hang in there online, restaurant owners are having migraines trying to figure out how to make it through all of this, workers of various stripes are concerned if they will ever have a job to go back to, older folks fret that this bug will come to them as it has come to so many of those in the same age range.

It’s a scary time. And it doesn’t help to be alone.

At the start of this there was a video on one of the social media outlets. It was a choral piece called “We Are Not Alone.” In the video, taped at a Mennonite Church in Utah, the members of the choir were spread out all over the sanctuary. As they sang over and over again, “We are not alone,” they started moving toward the front. Then they added another verse, “God is with us.” The piece ends with the choir up front, together.

Obviously it was taped in the days before social distancing. But the message really struck me someplace very deep. “We are not alone … God is with us.”

On the one hand, it hit me personally because it reminded me how important worship is. After all, I’m a minister. Leading worship is what I do. It is what people expect me to do. But I do it because I love it, just as much as other people do what they do for a living because (hopefully) they love it.

For another, being together in worship is a really cool thing. Of course I would say that, but since this is a devotion I am operating under the assumption that being together for worship is cool for you, too. We can take it for granted. Sometimes we get irritated with those who worship with us. We don’t like what the minister says. But then something happens, we are apart, and we need to hear the words in our social distancing, “We are not alone … God is with us.”

Even when we don’t know what to say to each other may we hear those words, and in their hearing may we be blessed with a special sense of God’s loving, merciful presence.

REV. DR. TOM ROBINSON is pastor of Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at pastorfpc@centurylink.net or (434) 808-3038.