Spring has sprung!!!
Flowers are not only popping out of the ground, but they’re also blooming as God begins repainting the earth around us. Trees are budding and we’ll soon experience a sea of green reappearing. Don’t you LOVE it?
Maybe this spring is more exciting because we’re gaining hope that the COVID pandemic might someday be in our rearview mirrors. Perhaps life can begin resembling what we remember from only twelve months ago.
Where are we with COVID?
Maybe this is too optimistic for some, but there are some facts we need to face. COVID 19 is a virus. As we know, viruses can quickly mutate. It's the reason science has told us for decades that no one can cure the common cold or stop the flu. Why? Because colds and many flues are caused by viruses and viruses mutate. The flue has major strains, yet mutations still occur. That flu shot you get every fall is a good example. Pharmaceutical companies take their best guess at producing a vaccination for what they think is the dominant strain of flu for that upcoming winter, but it's a shot in the dark. They guess wrong many times. People receive the vaccination for one variety of flu, and then another strain hits. Science has told us for years that viruses mutate.
So, let’s apply that scientific logic to COVID 19. From what we’ve already seen, this virus is mutating into similar yet different strains. As I write this article, several European countries and areas of Europe are closing down once again because of a mutated strain of COVID 19. Logic tells us this mutation process is typical for viruses.
Million-dollar questions that go unanswered
First, what are we going to do about this? Not that you and I can fix the COVID problem because we can’t. Sadly, some people are growing exhausted of the regulations and throwing all precautions out the door, which is probably not wise, while others believe in stringent conformity to the government precautions.
The second question is equally difficult. Are we going to continue to live in fear and stay apart from one another? Both fear and love are strong emotions. Will fear win and people remain relatively isolated, or will love win and break through the fear of COVID? These are tough questions to answer.
While our government is taking steps to help people, such as vaccinations and stimulus money, sooner or later, the government will run out of the ability to help in any significant way. End of that conversation so we don’t get political, but we all know that the government can and should only do so much. That leaves us to determine our response.
By now, we realize that officials in the government and professionals in the medical field have very polar responses. Some of our doctors tell us to go live our lives, while other doctors have chewed out their patients for not taking full precautions to protect themselves. We’ve seen similar opposing responses from our government officials also. Some politicians continue to keep their state on stringent regulations, while people are freer to live their lives in other states. Who are we to believe?
Extremes in congregations
Congregations are each handling the situation as best they determine. Some churches have not opened since shutting down a year ago. Some churches are open but require masks at all times, plus they require social distancing when seated in the service, and they disinfect between services. Other churches let the choice of wearing a mask to each individual. And some churches have no restrictions at all. A few weeks ago, I visited a congregation on a Sunday morning. I’m guessing they had two-three hundred in attendance in one service. I did not see anyone wearing a mask, not even one mask. Upon talking with the senior minister, he said they have had no COVID problems from church attendance or midweek activities. Other churches have encountered major outbreaks.
It’s up to each person
I dislike the term "New Normal." It assumes people have surrendered to the problem, but there is some truth to it. Each of us needs to determine how we are going to live with this virus. It is not going away. It's here to stay in some form or another. Are we going to wear masks in public for the rest of our lives? Are we going to stay in our homes forever? Are we going to miss seeing family and friends for years on end? On the other hand, do we throw away our masks and stop distancing from others and run the risk of spreading the virus? Each of us has our personal views, and it is not wise to tell someone else how to live. We've seen too much of that already as fights have broken out in public places. It's a hot topic, and as with the politicians and medical professionals, individuals have polar opinions too, with each person verifying their position with professionals that believe as them.
Our elders have said they want to see us get back to normal as much as possible. Is that conceivable? Let’s examine some things. We’ve had at least one funeral meal in the past year, and I think we’ve possibly had two. I know the last meal was a carry-in, and everyone served themselves. I've not heard of any COVID sickness because of that meal. To the best of my ability in watching the situation here at RCC, I know of only one person who possibly caught COVID from attending our services. Thankfully, that person only had mild symptoms.
We have people attending with a wide variety of views, just as the politicians and doctors, and we see that on Sunday mornings. Some never wear a mask, while others wear their masks all the time, and the vast majority are somewhere in between. Here’s the beautiful result of that: I have NOT heard even one disparaging comment. Jesus must smile down on us as we love and respect each other.
We’re moving on
As best we can, we are going to return to a sense of normalcy. None of us know what that looks like, but as more people get vaccinated and go out in public with more confidence, it’s time to also come back to church. If people can go to a restaurant and sit there eating with no mask, it seems logical they can, at the very least, sit in church and wear their masks. The choice of masking or not masking is each individual’s decision here at RCC.
Let’s get started
Let's invite people back. Some have already returned, and others have said they are coming soon. Hallelujah!!! But we have a long way to go. First, let's focus on inviting everyone back that has attended in the past. Second, let's reach out to our neighbors. The community is full of people who need Jesus, and it's up to you and me to invite them. It's time to go into the community and reach out and tell them the Good News. Put on your thinking cap and come up with ideas on how you can tell others, and then go and tell them about Jesus.
Spring has sprung. New life is reemerging. The earth is awakening. And so it is with the Church. The Church around the world has been asleep for the past year because of COVID. It’s time we have a resurgence of life. Let’s get started. Let’s begin living again!!!
Love you & God Bless,