May 7, 2020
Volume 24, Number 17
There’s an interesting story about Fish Tales Bar & Grill in Ocean City, Maryland. Restaurants in that state are just beginning to open up to on-site business, but they must agree to have customers observe the social distancing standards. That means people must be six feet apart. Easier said than done, right?
This restaurant came up with a surefire way to maintain that distance. A fleet of wheeled bumper tables has been put in place. The patron must stoop down and go underneath the table, and emerge in a center opening. The table is surrounded by a large rubber bumper, which helps soften the blow if you happen to walk into another patron walking along in his or her bumper table.
“It’s like a bumper boat, but it’s actually a table,” owner Shawn Harmon said of the design. The contraptions were designed and made by a firm in Baltimore. For the time being customers need not call ahead to reserve a table for four; all tables are for one only. (To read more about this and to see a video, click here.)
Early in our time of quarantine one writer suggested that we refer to the practice as “spatial distancing” instead of “social distancing”. I like that better. Yes, we need to keep our distance from one another, but may we be sure the distance is spatial only.
Paul wrote to Christians that we are to be close to one another: “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Philippians 2:1,2). Those are “terms of endearment”, we might say, and infer that Christians are people who love other people.
Paul practiced what he preached. In opening that letter he wrote, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you … For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Christ” (Philippians 1:3,8). There are many indications in this letter that Paul had a strong bond with the Christians at Philippi. They were close, obviously.
Yet Paul was in prison when he wrote that letter (see Philippians 1:7,13). Spatially he was far removed from them. But the bonds of love are powerful, and even when we must keep our distance, we can be close.
What is the power that makes such closeness-despite-distance possible? Look at Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” He then describes how Christ left heaven to serve the needs of all. What powerful love!
I don’t like having to observe spatial distancing, but I will abide by the guidelines given for our protection. All the while I rejoice in the spiritual closeness I have in Christ!
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
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Copyright, 2020, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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