As I have watched school districts all across the country begin their academic year, I have been thinking a lot again about COVID-time protocols and how our congregation embodies our faithfulness toward God and others in the decisions we make around in-person gatherings. We are called to love our neighbors as ourselves; and so, even if we are vaccinated, we wear masks and refrain from gathering, not always to protect ourselves but to protect others who are more vulnerable and those who are unable to be vaccinated, especially the children and grandchildren we all love. We are called, by the Golden Rule, to behave toward others as we would have them behave toward us; and so we honor the health and safety of others as we hope they will honor our health and safety. In the passage from the letter from James (which we will hear during worship on Sunday) we are encouraged to be hearers AND doers of the Word of God. We gather (even online) to hear the Word of God and the ways in which God’s Word encourages us to love and care for all people. And then, we strive to be DOERS of God’s Word. The same is true for our communal life; it is not enough to know the science and hear the recommendations of medical authorities; we have to take action and do what is recommended.
I know we are worn out and worn down by all of this. I know we all long to gather in person again in the sanctuary and lift our voices in prayer and song. But we know more now about the ways in which the SARS CoV-2 virus can spread, even carried and transmitted by fully vaccinated individuals. So, until more people in our greater community are vaccinated, and more are protected from serious illness and hospitalization, we will stick to our current practices and protocols.
I hope to be able to see you all soon in person, but until then, I’ll look forward to worshipping with you online.