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Faces on Faith: Big take-aways not to forget in post-COVID future


PHOTO PROVIDED Pastor Jeramie Rinne

They are returning! As more church members get vaccinated, they are trickling back into our Sunday services. Could the vaccine return us to some form of pre-COVID normalcy?

And if it does happen, will we remember these times? Suffering and deprivation teach many lessons. God uses hard times to instruct us. Will we retain the insights gained form the pandemic?

Here are three big take-aways I don’t want to forget in a post-COVID future:

n We need people in person. My church provides live-streaming of Sunday services to members who cannot attend due to health risks. Live-stream is a blessing and a curse. It keeps a connection of sorts, but it doesn’t substitute for face-to-face contact. “Online church” is ultimately an oxymoron. God made us with bodies and for embodied relationships, and without in-person contact we degrade. We have seen the COVID case numbers. But how many have suffered mental and emotional illness from isolation? Lord, help me prioritize and savor in-person relationships in an age of digital disembodied communication.

n We are not in control. We like to think humanity can do anything. But then a tiny virus comes along and brings our globally-connected, mars-roving, nuclear-powered, touch-screen, 5G world to its knees. COVID has exposed the limits of science and management. This experience should humble us. And it provides opportunity to look beyond ourselves to the one truly in control. The book of Proverbs in the Bible reminds us to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding. I don’t want to lose the sense of prayerful dependence on God that this pandemic has given me.

n We will die. COVID has made the whole world face mortality. We ignore death most of the time. But numbering our days is good for our souls and puts life into perspective. Someday our end will come. And then what? Remembering death causes me to treasure Jesus more. He is the only person who died and rose again. He did what no vaccine or medicine could ever do. He conquered sin and the grave. And he alone can give eternal life to all who seek him.

Pastor Jeramie Rinne is the senior pastor at the Sanibel Community Church.