Socializing during Social Distancing
In a flash, there it was. Her hand. Out there for me to shake.
Um, I thought, now what?
She raised a shoulder with what we can now call the social distancing shrug. This was followed with her half question/half mumble of whether or not I was okay with the handshake.
When you are standing where I was, what do you do?
It is problematic that we can mingle with some people—especially when we want to or we feel we need to—and yet we are still staying away from others.
This doesn’t make sense.
Then again, 2020 isn’t making sense.
Since we can turn to God for anything, and we can (and should) turn to God for everything, where is God on socializing during social distancing?
The answer isn’t obvious in scripture. However, our bodies are temples (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). In this text, Paul is clear to share that our bodies are gifts. We should honor them. But is there more to it?
In this often-cited text about the body being a temple, Paul speaks to the people in Corinth. The topic is the body.
This conversation was well-timed and well-placed. In Corinth, some took the stance that it really didn’t matter what they did with their bodies since the body was only a die-away shell holding what really matters, which is the spirit in us. Since these bodily vessels are just that—vessels—some practiced whatever sexual expression came along. After all, the body doesn’t really matter, does it?
Paul states the opposite. Our bodies do matter. He asserts that a Christian’s body is where the Holy Spirit lives. The apostle goes even further. He elevates the believer’s body to the level of being a temple, a holy place. These holy places house the Spirit of God. God gives His Spirit to every person who trusts in Christ for salvation (Ephesians 1:13–14). Mysteriously, we house God’s Spirit in our bodies.
Actually, they are not really our bodies, Paul says. They stop becoming “ours” when we realize who Christ is and what Christ did by dying once and rising again.
In Ephesians 1:7, Paul writes that God, the Father, is so rich in kindness and in grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son on a cross at the end of one world-changing Passover celebration. Paul adds more in Galatians 3:13. He says Christ bought our way out of the curse of living under the law of Moses by becoming a curse Himself.
But what, you may wonder, does Paul say about shaking hands with strangers or people who are well outside of our immediate circle during a crushing global pandemic?
I believe he would answer that when we come to Christ through faith in our one true Savior something not so mysterious happens: our bodies stop becoming our own. Of course, this is an ideal. Our bodies being storehouses for God is a lofty goal, but what a goal it is to have.
I fumbled with the interchange of that handshake I mentioned at the top of this column. You likely have fumbled too, at least once. I shook her hand.
Let this teach us something, however. Let this business of a handshake or no handshake—touch or no touch—inspire us to value what God values, which is us as His vessels. Yes. Us. Vessels. Specifically, His vessels. The thought of our bodies being used solely for Christ? This is something to not just think about, but commit to daily.