Up to a month ago the term social distancing was rarely, if ever, used in our conversations, news media, or lives. Today it is a word too common. Most of us have come to truly dislike it and its implications. Our families, friendships, churches, and work, in truth our entire lives, have been changed because of attempting to keep 6 feet or more away from others.
I personally have felt withdrawal symptoms from not being around family and our church family. My brother went through an invasive surgery for cancer on Tuesday of this week, and none of his family will be able to visit him in the hospital until he is discharged. My wife’s mother and my father are in assisted living and nursing homes. They have been on lock-down since this all started with no visitation allowed. It is safe to say I do not like this social distancing. I gather you probably don’t either.
This event has, besides causing heart strings to be strained and loneliness to be a prison cell and tormentor, has caused me to consider the sin-caused distancing seen at the cross of Jesus Christ. Our somewhat restrained social distancing, where we can video chat, call, write, and enjoy a bit of fellowship is truly a light and momentary affliction. In our social distancing we are still loving one another, caring for each other, sharing what we can in communication, and building stronger bonds across the moments of separation. Jesus, the Son of God, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit together since eternity past had never experienced a social distancing. They have had perfect fellowship and union and communion for all of eternity. The did not create mankind because they were lonely or needed us for any reason other than to show their glory, greatness, love, compassion, power, and mercy. Their bond in the trinitarian relationship was perfect, strong, and eternal, until the cross.
I have walked through the separation at death with long-time married couples who have spent their lives together and I have seen the devastation of the sudden loss of their partner and love of their lives and know the pain. Years create a bond where words can barely describe the pain in separation. That is why the words of Jesus on the cross found in Matthew 27:46 tell of the pain of their separation and sin caused distancing, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?".
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:21 , “For He made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”. The sin caused distancing was not on account of Jesus’ sin debt but ours. For the first time in all eternity the perfect union of the Trinity experienced separation. But as the verse goes on to say it was not the end of the story and for a much greater purpose. His death on the cross and the separation on our behalf gives us an open door to enter a relationship we could not have without His sacrifice.
As you suffer in the coming days from your social distancing think of the sin caused separation seen at the cross and rejoice in God’s willingness to sacrifice His perfect fellowship in the Trinity to invite us into a relationship that is promised to last forever.