Response to coronavirus is coming together apart | Columnists – Rincn Latino

Posted By on April 26, 2020

While returning home on Saturday from mailing some letters, I pulled up behind a car at a stop light which had a bumper sticker with an American flag and the words United We Stand. The phrase comes from a longer saying, United we stand, divided we fall. The quote goes all the way back to Aesop (620-564 B.C.) and his fables of The Four Oxen and The Bundle of Sticks. The phrase was first made popular in this country in 1768 by John Dickinson in his song Liberty Song.

In a discussion about Satan, Jesus makes the observation: If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. (Mark 3:24, 25)

Abraham Lincoln picked up on Jesus words on June 18, 1858, at the Illinois State Capital in Springfield, in his acceptance speech for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. Over the years, it has become known as the House Divided speech.

Our nations response to the coronavirus pandemic has given a new twist to the familiar saying United we stand, divided we fall. Someone, I am not sure who, made the comment that our countrys response to the pandemic threat might be described as Coming Together Apart. In order to combat COVID-19, we have had to pull together to meet the challenge, while at the same time practicing social distancing. People are finding creative ways to simultaneously accomplish both of these goals.

For our nation to defeat the COVID-19 threat, it is imperative that everyone be a responsible citizen by practicing social distancing and following the practices suggested by the medical experts. In the Jewish Talmud, the Golden Rule is stated in the negative: What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire law; all the rest is commentary. In this vein, a responsible citizen is a person who does not do that which is personally hurtful to others. Or a responsible citizen is one who does not do that which might personally cause ones neighbor to catch COVID-19.

The media is filled with illustrations of how people are practicing coming together apart. Birthdays are celebrated with car possessions or neighbors social distancing, singing Happy Birthday. People meet friends in an outside setting while social distancing. A number of groups to which Diane belongs are meeting by Zoom. I would expect that traffic on the internet has dramatically increased since the stay at home directive was given. People have found creative ways to come together apart to applaud medical workers, police officers, EMTs, mail carriers, truckers, and others who have stepped up to help our nation deal with the challenges the pandemic presents.

Coming Together Apart is not a new concept. In fact, the problem has been with us for generations. Paul was the apostle to the Gentile world. He started churches in what is now known as the Middle East. How was he to keep in contact with the members of the churches he started? Pauls answer to the problem was letters. We have in the New Testament several letters that Paul wrote to specific churches, but which circulated among all the Pauline churches. In them, he makes reference of specific persons to whom he sends greetings, shares common concerns, and addresses problems. He also brought all the churches he founded together by taking a collection for the poor in Jerusalem.

Churches across our land have discovered new ways to come together while staying apart. The church that Diane and I attend broadcasts its service live every Sunday morning. Diane and I watch it on Facebook Live. It is interesting to see the comments that appear to the right of the screen. Former members who have moved away now are able to watch the churchs service in real time. Over the last several weeks, those leading the service have been exploring what it means to have a virtual worship service.

During the pandemic we are all learning what it means for us and others to come together apart.

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Response to coronavirus is coming together apart | Columnists - Rincn Latino

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