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An open letter to my brother in faith

 

May 27, 2020 Letters to the Editor

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My friend, I honor the work you have done in building the church, in feeding the hungry, in serving the poor, in comforting the prisoner, and in many other ways.

But I have to confront you as a faithful brother in your recent public criticism — and therefore, apparent condemnation — of church leaders who have prayerfully chosen to protect their congregations by physical methods along with their prayers for these members.

There are biblical instances of chosen isolation, especially among the prophets, and especially in times of significant physical danger.

And in my reading of the hierarchy of commandments, loving God and loving our neighbor are superior to the Hebrews 11:25 admonition that appears to have been contextual.

It is my firm belief that we honor God best by obeying God’s commandments, including showing sacrificial love to our neighbors. I think you and I agree there.

Today, among my acts of sacrificial love is that of giving up for a time the joy of mutual hugs, the exultation of congregational singing, the happiness of physical connections — so that this disease that somehow affected the just and the unjust may not be further spread by my all-too-human actions.

But I will continue to make use of God’s gift of technological means to encourage one another, to stir ourselves up to sacrificial love and good deeds, and I give thanks for the God-given opportunity to do so even more broadly than physically possible.

In shared confidence in Christ our Lord,

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