A Responsible Christian
I take my role as a Christian seriously. I do my best to follow the teachings of Jesus and to do so responsibly and rationally.
Right now I'm thinking of John 13:34-35: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” I also think of 1 John 3:17-18: If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
It is a strange time and in order to love my neighbor as myself, I need to physically distance myself. My action needs to be (at least on the surface) inaction. To show our love from one another we need to stay away from one another. To NOT stay away from each other; to gather in large groups is to be uncaring and reckless. When you violate rules that are meant to keep people safe, you are not loving yourself or your neighbor. When there is a global pandemic to love your neighbor; PHYSICALLY stay away from your neighbor.
Even while being physically distant, we CAN still act with love and responsibility. We can check in with friends and neighbors while still being distant. To show Christian love you can email, text, call on the phone or even holler out the window (depending on how close your residences are). Because I am physically able to get out and go grocery shopping once a week, I have asked several people who are not able to do so if they need anything. If they need anything it is usually something small and I am happy to try and get whatever for them. (They understand that during this time no one may be able to get exactly what they want; we all have to be flexible.) I let them know when I have their items and leave them in a bag so they can safely get them. This is a simple act of responsible Christian love.
I also belong to a group of volunteers that once a month provides and delivers a nutritious hot meal to those in the community that need it. This would have been the weekend that a small group of us would have gathered in the church kitchen. We would have cooked, baked and assembled packages. We have always done so with the utmost care; we are vigilant is using gloves and keeping the space clean and sanitized. Meals are carefully thought out and planned months in advance so as to best utilize the supplies in our pantry. This month it is not possible to do so safely. It would not be safe or fair to the volunteers (once who is at risk due to an underlying health issue) nor would it be safe for those who we would deliver to, most of whom are in the high risk category due to age or disability. However, we felt that we needed to do something; we could not abandon those in need. What we did do was not our traditional meal, but something that was safe. Individual cans of soup, applesauce, pretzels, oranges, juice boxes and snack cakes. Not ideal and definitely not what we would have done under “normal” circumstances, but because each item is individually wrapped, it is safe. We are able to show our love for our neighbors by modifying and thinking outside of the box. Each of our recipients will get a bag with these items left outside their doors. (They know when to expect them.) To me this is proof positive that you can be a "good Christian" (a term I really don't like) and still be responsible and respectful.
The title of this post is what I feel I am. But this post doesn't have to just apply to Christians; we can be responsible Jews, Muslims, etc. We NEED to be responsible human beings while showing our love.
Be safe. Be well. Be RESPONSIBLE.