Pastor’s Friday Comments (04.24.20)

As a Christian I am pro-life. Some people immediately think that means I am for the protection of unborn children, which is true, but I am just as pro-life about every other person too. Right now I want to be supportive of the lives of several particular groups of people.

I want to be supportive of health care workers – nurses, doctors, technicians, cleaning crews, first responders, administrators – and anyone else who is putting his or her own life at risk to attend to people who are suffering from Covid-19.

I want to be supportive of high risk groups – those with underlying health conditions and groups that are apparently more at risk than the general population (although it is becoming more evident that there is no group that is not susceptible to contracting this virus).

I want to be supportive of people who, for many weeks now, have continued to work in truly essential industries that have provided necessary services for those of us who were fortunate enough to be able to work from home.

I want to be supportive of people who are now having to choose between putting their lives at risk by going back to work and being unable to put food on their family’s table, because, since the Governor has now declared that they can go back to work, they are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits.

I want to be supportive of the researchers, epidemiologists, and other scientists who are trying to find a vaccine and improve testing.

I want to be supportive of hospital and nursing home chaplains who, in far too many cases, are the last ministers who see people who are dying without the comfort of the presence of their loved ones.

I want to be supportive of all of these people and anyone else who is having to endure suffering or heartache because of this global pandemic. And I believe the best way for me to be supportive is by not getting sick or doing anything that might cause someone else to get sick. To the extent that it is possible, I want to refrain from any behavior that would put more stress on our healthcare system or that would cause anyone else to be infected.

So I can go without a haircut for a few more weeks. My hair is not nearly as long yet as it was in college.

I won’t go to a movie. Netflix will do just fine.

I’m not going to eat in a restaurant. I happen to be married to a great cook, but, even if I wasn’t, I could live without the dining-in experience for a while.

I’m going to put off getting that tattoo I was thinking about. Okay, I just threw that one in.

But basically, I’m not going to do anything that will prolong the time that we have to suffer through this. I am sympathetic toward those whose livelihoods are at stake and I think all of us should have to share that burden (even if it means raising our taxes), but I don’t believe we should ignore the advice of the health experts, some of the brightest minds in our country, just because we can’t wait to kick-start the economy – especially since relaxing restrictions too soon may make the economy worse.

And I’m not going to do anything that will put your life at risk either. So I am afraid that, for an undetermined amount of time, we won’t be able to be in church together. As I said a few weeks ago, we will listen to the best advice from health care experts. When they believe we can return with minimal risk, we will do so. And we will also follow their advice on precautions to take and restrictions to impose in order to keep everyone safe.

Obviously, our “virtual” worship services, Sunday School classes, prayer meetings, and other get-togethers are not ideal. But they are definitely better than nothing, and for now they will have to do. Just keep praying that this crisis will soon pass, that we will have learned how to face challenging times together, that there will be as little suffering as possible, and that we will be able to give God the glory for seeing us through to the other side.