13 04 2020


The isolation of this social distancing world we now live in is starting to get to me. During this coronavirus battle, I have only ventured out to two places besides the house that I live in. I go to the Lighthouse Church building and I go to Coastal Broadcasting’s radio studio. While I am in both places, I do get to interact with many people through social media streaming and the FM dial. The only problem is, while others get to see and hear me; I don’t get to see and hear them and this spells a recipe for loneliness and a skid into potential depression for an extroverted soul like mine.

I can’t help it but God wired me to be very response oriented. Preaching to an empty room is not the same as sharing my messages with the flock staring back at me. I like to see the faces as I passionately share the Word of God. The weekends before this tragedy of life basically shut us all down, I would present the same sermon three different times on Saturday at 6PM and on Sundays at 9 and 1045AM. But it never got boring to me because each and every occasion provided a unique twist and spiritually driven turn that always kept things fresh and new. The content of my talks might have been the same but who God had placed strategically in the congregation always meant that it came out of me with renewed vigor every time. When I can’t interact personally with those within earshot of me, it definitely affects my psyche.

Do you think that maybe this is why Jesus came from Heaven to earth to show the way? I mean, He could have gotten on a supernatural powerful sound system and blasted his parables and stories down to us while our Savior stayed within the safe surroundings of Glory. Yet, Jesus didn’t do that. He came down to our level when we couldn’t get up to His. He lived among us. He made eye contact with His creation. He ate meals with us and walked where we walked with His disciples right by His side. The Shepherd didn’t direct His sheep via remote control. Our Lord was smack dab in the pasture that the sheep could literally rub up against Him and feel the security of His presence with them. This wasn’t God sending text messages from a distance. This was God so close to us that we could hear Him whispering truth in our ears.

Maybe this is why the pandemic is beginning to pound upon my gut. Being visible to others without the closeness of true communion is not actual fellowship. Somebody said to me this past week, “Are you going to continue with the online classes and studies after life gets back to normal?” As for me and my ministry, I responded with a very quick, “No!” This is why I am not a fan of going to church to just watch a speaker on the screen like you would watch a television at home. The apostles would sit at the feet of Jesus. They would experience all of Him as He also related life in an up front and unusually close to them posture. There are things that we all have to do out of necessity but that doesn’t mean that they are the best way. I long for all of us to be in the same room again as soon as possible. Nothing substitutes for being physically together while understanding spiritual principles. If it was just about intellectual learning, all we would need was books. But even the Bible itself can’t be fully appreciated unless you invite the Author Himself to interact with you while you read. The Holy Spirit revealing to us eternal truth is definitely not a one-way conversation. It involves the participation of God and man involved in the same place in a united process at the very same time.

I miss the hugs and the high fives. I miss the fist bumps and the laughter and tears we all share along the journey. I read where a high-ranking official said that human beings should abandon the practice of shaking hands altogether. I profusely disagree with that suggestion. We were not made by God to operate as robots. The Bible encourages us to greet one another with a holy kiss and that goes way beyond a polite head nod. Jesus wasn’t afraid to catch our cooties. It wasn’t a virus that took His life. It was hatred. I’ll risk the consequences that come with the power of touch. I for one can’t go the rest of my life without it. Like Olaf, the snowman character in the Disney Movie Frozen, I too need warm hugs just to get me through the monotony of days spent here on this planet. The fact that so many loved ones had to take their last breaths all alone without any contact from family and friends during this ordeal is enough to make my heart ache forever. This is not the way God designed us to live and move and have our existence here. All we need is love. Love is even more important than Clorox wipes and toilet paper.

The other day, it felt like spring and so I drove down the street because I missed my granddaughter Lucia and I still had not seen my newest twin granddaughters Adelina and Claire in person. I went by Leah and Jeff’s house and found Luci playing with bubbles in the backyard. She was giggling in such a contagious fashion that I couldn’t help but join in the festivities. I think she got a kick out of the fact that I was calling it “bubble juice.” Pop-Pop kept saying, “We need more bubble juice.” At that moment, in the arms of their parents, those new lives appeared at the door. It took all the restraint within me to not hold those precious treasures in my arms. I complied with the new world order, but my heart was protesting big time. They were right there in my reach and I couldn’t touch them. I share this because there was nothing normal about it. And in the long run, I don’t believe that it would be very healthy for them to be so protected that no other loved one could cuddle them and love on them in their arms. What I am trying to say is that ships in the harbor might be safer there, but that is not what ships were made for. And we people were created by God to be loved-up close and personal.

I am praying like many of you that this too will pass. We will not survive if this lifestyle goes on forever. But it won’t be a virus that kills us, it will be a broken-heart that does us in. No man is an island and we are not put on this earth as solo entities. We all need the power of a holy touch. We need to be held in the hands of those who cherish us. When I get to heaven, I will not be content to just be in the same room as Jesus. I want to fall right in the arms of my Lord. I hope we never get to the extreme where we outlaw contact. I for one won’t survive without it. Go away coronavirus. Return soon communion and community. I will never take you for granted again.



One response

13 04 2020
mike burns

Pastor Rudy!

We’re still feeling you pal! I can still hear and feel the passionate teaching in your writings if not face to face! As recovering ‘Catholic’s’ (lol) you are a refreshing breathe of air! My wife and I love going to Lighthouse Church for a bit over a year now. We miss assembling but you’re still keeping the herd together!

God Bless you Rudy, we are praying for you!

Love, Virtual Hugs and High 5’s! Happy Easter!!!!!

Michael & Stacey Burns


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