Pastor’s Friday Comments (07.30.21)

I am keenly aware of the fact that I only have a few more opportunities to share my thoughts with you on a regular basis. In the past, in my Friday Comments I could promote some minor event in congregational life, knowing that there was always next week for dealing with weightier matters. No longer.

So, as I think about how to use these few remaining chances, I want to take this precious opportunity to urge you to perform what may be the most Christian ministry you can undertake right now: Get your vaccination for Covid-19. And since I know that most of you who will read this have already been vaccinated, then please do everything you can to persuade others to get their shots.

There are plenty of approaches to this issue: personal safety, community health, economic survival, general quality of life. But I am choosing the perspective of a follower of Christ: More importantly than all the common sense reasons for getting vaccinated, I have chosen to receive the vaccine because it may protect the lives of others. That task is built into our calling as Christ-followers.

Since I received my second shot in February I have had no serious concerns about my personal danger with regard to Covid. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a total of 4,072 vaccinated Americans had been hospitalized with symptomatic breakthrough infections, out of more than 161 million who have been fully vaccinated. That is a breakthrough hospitalization rate of less than 0.003 percent. Better still, of those hospitalized, only 849 have died of Covid-19. 

The troubling news, however, is that there is a slim chance that a person who is fully vaccinated could contract the virus and then pass it on to an unvaccinated person. That is why it is so important that we reach a level of vaccination where the chances of infection are rare. If an unvaccinated person were to infect me and I unknowingly passed the virus on to one of my grandchildren….

I don’t know how to finish that sentence.

With all due respect for your right to make personal choices, if you, as a Christian, care about the lives of others, unless there is some personal circumstance that prevents you from getting the vaccine, I believe that you should do so. One of the effects of the refusal of a large percentage of the population to get vaccinated is that the CDC is now recommending that everyone in areas of substantial or high transmission wear a mask. That’s us – so beginning this Sunday, we will be requiring masks for all who attend worship. 

There is a great, but possibly apocryphal, story about a little girl who needed a blood transfusion. Because her brother was the best genetic match, the doctor asked him if he would be willing to donate for his sister. He seemed hesitant and afraid, but he agreed to do so. When he was on the gurney having the IV placed in his arm, he asked the nurse, “How much time do I have left?” She asked him, “How much time for what?” His response: “Until I die.” He had thought that for his sister to live he had to die. Whether he knew it or not, he was following the example of Christ. And so should we. As his followers we are called upon to place the welfare of others above our own, even if it were to mean our own death.

Given the miniscule chance that anything bad will happen to you if you receive the Covid-19 vaccine, it seems a small sacrifice to make to get a couple of shots. I believe it’s the Christian thing to do.