It’s easy to forget these days, with all the (somewhat justifiable) backlash against individualist spirituality, that part of being religious is getting the sheol away from everybody. Christians have been social-distancing since before it was cool, the 3rd-century desert fathers and mothers setting the trend. Their embrace of asceticism and solitude allowed them to embodied the poverty and pain of Christ and commune more closely with the Creator. Sure, those like Anthony the Great were a tad world-denying, but later Christians found ways to maintain physical distance while continuing fellowship through houses of hospitality (hospitals and hospices), monastic movements and abstinence pledges.
Yet despite the fact that the Coronavirus attends church more consistently than Omar Little’s grandmother, many in the US still insist on singing hymns with people they pretend to like. CNBC notes that of the 15 states with the most vulnerable populations, 11 have exempted religious gatherings from “stay at home” orders. There is evidence that most churches aren’t meeting anyway, but it only takes a few community breakouts to un-flatten the curve.
So fellow Christians, be like St. Anthony and get thee to thy man-cave!