FBC is a teacher who’s shared that – in addition to the challenges of teaching students both in person and virtually during a pandemic – it’s obvious that many students have forgotten how to act in social situations. He has a student, for example, who was last in class with friends in the 7th grade and now that student is in high school. The student forgot that picking your nose and then eating the findings from said nose in a public place is not okay. (Not okay anywhere if you ask me.)
I’m hearing similar comments from church people – not necessarily involving nose-picking though. It’s as if we’ve been isolated for so long that – at least on Sunday mornings – we’ve forgotten how to interact with our siblings in Christ.
Here are some obvious things that may not seem obvious anymore:
- The mask goes over both your nose and your chin. Be a good neighbor and wear one even if you’ve been vaxxed unless you are outside. A friend passed away last week (after being vaccinated) from complications from COVID because she was living with invisible issues that made her vulnerable. Please note that wearing a mask is one way to love your neighbor as yourself.
- Don’t make comments about one’s post-COVID appearance like “Are you pregnant or just carrying around some extra COVID weight?” “You hair got so gray during the pandemic.”
- Continue to smile and say please and thank you, even if you are wearing a mask.
- Notice people. Do they need a door held open? Help with packages? Yes, we are weary/busy/cranky from 19 months of COVID, but we can still be pleasant/observant/kind.
- Send gift cards. Maybe we don’t feel comfortable sending a casserole or muffins to new parents or recovering friends, but we can still help them with meals via Uber Eats or DoorDash.
I’m struck – more often than I wish – by people both in and outside the Church who tell me how nasty church people can be. Some don’t want to move into leadership positions becase they are afraid of what they’ll see and hear. A person said to me just yesterday that church is where she learned to gossip. Another told me last week that she had to leave her church when see saw the level of contempt some members had towards each other.
Authentic community only happens when we treat each other the same way we would treat Jesus. No fake flattery. No comments about how friendly we are, when we are actually only friendly to our friends. No ugly comments shared with smiles on our faces wearing really good lipstick.
How can we be a healthy Post-Pandemic Church? We can begin by treating each other like God’s valuable children.
Be especially kind to veterans today.
Image of Queen Elizabeth who is nothing if not socially skilled.