In the next few days, Alabama's beaches will reopen and other restrictions will begin to ease. We're all cautious about this, even the most ardent advocates of business, because we realize that there are risks.
There's also talk about opening up churches, which will be complicated, to say the least. There are a lot of questions to work through.
A date, for example. The Center for Disease Control discourages a return to activity until a region has seen a two-week decline in new cases, but Alabama's infection rate has not yet crested.
How many people could our sanctuary accommodate safely? And if we were to offer multiple services, would we clean between them?
Should worshippers wear face masks? (They help to reduce transmission of the virus, but offer little protection against it.)
Would we sing hymns? Singing can transmit the disease just like sneezing or coughing. I hate to mention this, but it's the kind of thing we have to bear in mind -- in Washington State, a choir practice of 60 individuals who practiced social distancing resulted in 45 infections, 3 hospitalizations and 2 deaths.
There are still more questions about whether to provide a nursery, Sunday school, bulletins, collection plates, etc.
So while we all want to reopen for worship, please understand the concerns for our members who are, by and large, vulnerable.
We will have to be open to new ways of worshipping for some time, even after our doors reopen. We will have open ourselves to a lot of things -- to God's wisdom and care most of all.