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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

What I've Learned While In Quarantine

While America was beginning to be hit by Covid-19, and all its inhabitants
were rushing to stock up on toilet paper (why was that again?), Melody and I
were in Israel. Our sons were in Tennessee with their grandparents. To say
the tone was different from when we left to when we came home is quite the
understatement. Back in Denver, we were asked by our shepherds to
self-quarantine for two weeks. Since then, both Colorado's governor and
Denver's mayor have enforced increasingly strict orders to stay at home. So,
after about a week and a half of the five of us inside our house, I have
noticed some things about both our family and God's family.
• I love my family. Yes, I would have told you that before all of this. Yet,
in times like these, what is important becomes clearer.
• I love God's family. Yes, I would have told you that before all of this.
Yet, in times like these, that too has become clearer. Sure, there have been
some individuals who (I am certain with only the best of intentions) have
been divisive and discouraging. They are the smallest of exceptions.
• My family has more time for each other. Without the "busyness" of life,
sports, practices, running around, and whatnot, we have had so much more
time for each other. We have played games, cards, and sat and talked more
than I remember us ever doing.
• God's family has more time for each other. Of course, we miss getting
together in person. However, it has been so encouraging how much more time
and effort has been spent making phone calls, checking on one another,
calling "just to visit," and "Facetimeing" for devos and communion.
• I am more evangelistic. I've way more time to talk to my neighbors (social
distancing rules in place, of course). I have been online chatting. I have
filmed some Bible studies to share. I have posted more spiritual content on
social media.
• God's people are more evangelistic. I have never seen so many preachers,
elders, members, and deacons use the technology that God has given us to
reach out to the world.
• It hurts me not to help. Tied to the building that is our house, I have
not been able to do for others like I would like to do. 
• God's people are helping. It would seem that not being tied to our
building has made us more aware of the needs of others. Robert Hatfield went
to the store for us. The Torres family bought meat for us while we were
still on the way home from Israel. Tyler King, Teri Autrey, Michael Hite,
and Cory Waddell have delivered things we needed to us. The Lord alone knows
all the others who have called or texted with offers.
• I feel the weight of responsibility for my family. In times like these,
especially, I am concerned about their physical health and safety, but also
in making sure we as a family stay focused on God.
• I have seen our shepherds feel the weight of responsibility for God's
family. I am quite sure none of this was in the job description, nor was
there any training offered for times like this. Nevertheless, their concern
for the physical health and safety has tempered every decision they have
made. In all things, they have tried to ensure we stay focused on God.
As we sit around talking and praying, I have wondered what long-term effects
the Corona Virus Pandemic might have on the church. Though having a building
is not wrong, will some congregations abandon them to use the money tied
into such for benevolent and evangelistic causes instead? Will we be less
tied to the building and "corporate worship" (whatever that means) and be
more focused on worshiping house to house and day to day? Will we prioritize
fellowship more? Will we appreciate assembling together more? Will we be
more loving, more evangelistic, and more benevolent?  
I realize there is plenty of bad news going around, and I certainly do not
mean to belittle the suffering others are experiencing. However, just as in
New Testament times, the Lord can grow His church in difficult
circumstances, if we will focus on the positives over the negatives, and
prioritize scripture over tradition.  

Corey Sawyers

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