Pastor’s Friday Comment (03.12.21)

On Monday of this week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new Covid guidelines that should offer encouragement to anyone looking for a time when we can safely re-enter society (which I assume is just about everyone).

The CDC said people who are two weeks past their final shot may visit indoors with unvaccinated members of a single household at low risk of severe disease, without wearing masks or distancing. However, the guidelines still discourage visits involving long-distance travel and recommend that everyone continue to wear masks in public.

The CDC also said fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with those who are fully vaccinated. And they do not need to quarantine or be tested after exposure to the coronavirus, as long as they have no symptoms.

As far as it goes, this is the best possible news. For individuals and families, it means that, once people are vaccinated, they can gather with loved ones again. For our church, it certainly means that we are one step closer to the time when all of us can gather safely for worship – but we are obviously not there yet. Monday’s announcement only applied to those who are two weeks past the time when they have been fully vaccinated. President Biden is estimating that every adult who wants to be vaccinated will have the opportunity by the end of May. We all hope he is right. 

Also, this announcement does not answer the question of when it will be safe to have large in-door gatherings like worship services, whether or not children will be safe in participating since they will not have been vaccinated, what restrictions should be placed on singing, and a host of other issues. We’ll just have to wait for further guidance.

In the meantime, the actions we can all take are obvious (and have been repeated ad nauseum): Get vaccinated as soon as you have the opportunity unless there are legitimate reasons not to, continue to practice all the habits that limit exposure and the threat of transmission, and be patient (the hardest guideline of all).

We are fortunate that, with the weather improving, more of us are able to worship in the parking lot on any Sunday when the weather is not prohibitive. I hope more of you will join us. We will continue that practice, as well as offering virtual material each week, until, using the best available scientific advice, it is determined that, in our specific conditions (which may be different from other congregations that you hear about) it is safe for all of us to return to indoor worship.

It is probably harder to be patient when you think the finish line may be in sight than it was when you had no idea if we would ever be able to return to “normal.” You see numerous examples of impatience when there are the ill-advised removal of mask mandates and the gathering of large crowds while there is still a significant danger of contagion. Let’s not be part of the problem. Instead, let us continue to be the church of Christ where we should always be, out in the world, showing God’s love to everyone. Eventually, we’ll go back into a building, but that isn’t nearly as important as what we do when we aren’t inside.