Jesus expects us to live in such a way that we love our neighbor.
We must keep that in mind as our city, state and country opens back up from our two and one half months of sheltering in place and social distancing.
Still for us, loving our neighbor means social distancing and wearing a mask when we are in public places until we are told it is safe for us to not wear one.
It means not putting other people at risk because we feel inconvenienced.
It means laying down our rights for the good of others.
That is what Jesus did.
It is what Christians must do to if we are going to follow Jesus. We can always pick our rights back up after this is over.
We can fight for them if need be.
But, we must remember that, as Christians, our rights don’t really belong to us anyway.
We gave them to Jesus when we declared him “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
When Jesus says “jump,” we say, “How high.”
When Jesus says to “love our neighbors,” we love them.
This will be a big test for many Christians, myself included.
I am sure it will be a test for other faith groups also who believe in a golden rule of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
For instance, just the other day that was put to the test by a ministerial college friend on social media.
She posted that she was going to a big box store (Walmart) with her husband to pick up a online shopping order.
When she got there, she had to “key” in her account number without gloves on her bare finger.
She did admit that she had forgotten her gloves, and her hand sanitizer for the trip.
It was her first trip from home since Easter Sunday.
She then noted that the associate delivering the groceries got too close to her husband because he could not understand him with his mask.
She had to ask him to back off, but he only backed off a couple of feet.
She also used a perturbed emoji to express her feelings at the end of the post.
My wife has been an associate for over 20+ years, and she has had to put up with people spraying bleach on her and using other creative words more frequently now than in the past.
I was thinking how much of an ungrateful person she was because the associate was putting his life at risk by being near them and was doing them a service.
She did admit that she was not ready to go out in public, and if she wasn’t, she should not have yelled at the associate doing her work for her.
I ask for your prayers, and God’s forgiveness.
I know that we are all perhaps a little afraid and worried during these uncertain times.
We want answers to our questions, and we want them yesterday.
At times, it seems that answers are slow to come.
We have never in our lifetime had to deal with something like this.
Even those of us who believe in the hope of the resurrection at times get down.
We are like those disciples who forgot the words of Jesus and the hope he proclaimed.
Yes, many of us have never had “love your neighbor” really cost us anything.
It has never been a serious inconvenience.
We have never had to really turn the other cheek so to speak.
Loving our neighbor also means that we should not hoard, but share the resources at the stores we shop.
We may according to the authorities have many days of empty shelves still to come.
As we slowly begin to venture out into the world again, will we be the light of the world in this hour?
Will this be our finest hour?
As disciples of Christ, we believe that we are a hope for a fractured world.
Will we be that light in the darkness for those groping for answers?
Will we act like Jesus?
I guess we’ll see.
Rev. Frank Chlastak began work as senior minister of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Poplar Bluff on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.