Living in Between
Fall Greetings to you Beloved Ones,
As Christians, we perhaps ought to be used to living in the in-between times. We are here on earth but our eyes (occasionally at the very least) are fixed on the Kingdom, Heaven, the Realm of Divine Love which is yet to be fully realized. The between time seems to be a good term for the days of COVID as well. For a year and a half now we have been working toward and anticipating the end, or the far side at least, of this deadly pandemic. We endured staying home most of the time and masking when we did go out in the months before we had a vaccine. Then we waited our turns as vaccines and vaccination appointments became available. Then we waited for our neighbors to take their turns to get “jabbed.” If enough of us were vaccinated, the science tells us, then we approach a condition known as herd immunity – where there are few hosts for the virus and its disease, and so it dies out. And still we wait. Not because there is not enough vaccine, but because many neighbors have not yet acted in the interest of the common health. Some of our neighbors have been frightened by misinformation, while others act in the belief in their own right to do or not do as they please. I know there is an active debate in our nation about belief in such absolute individual rights and where authority ultimately resides. I guess that is a political debate. What should not be debatable among Christians however is the belief and value of the common good. We are saved by the One who willingly and freely ceded his freedom and life that others could live and live free. We claim to follow the One who reminded people that God had commanded we love our neighbors as ourselves. Further, he demonstrated that everyone is neighbor to us. To all who have stepped up and believed in science, a discipline that grew out of faith in God’s creation of our intellects, you have my thanks. To all who did what most of us have done for decades, gotten vaccinated if we could, to protect ourselves and our vulnerable neighbors, thank you.
Still, we live in a between time. While vaccines have been widely available (and FREE) for over six months, most of the neighboring towns to Bristol have vaccination rates below 50%. More children in our schools have tested positive for COVID in the first weeks of the school year than in all of the prior school year. Because of the highly infectious nature of the Delta-variant, even those who are vaccinated are vulnerable (still). The CDC recommends masking in indoor public places even for those who are vaccinated IF community transmission is high. All of NH has high transmission now.
I am sorry to have to write you yet another COVID update this month. Beloved, as we claim to follow Jesus Christ in our time between, I urge you to pray for our neighbors: the ones who are ill; the ones who are afraid of vaccination; the ones who stubbornly refuse to do small things to protect themselves and all of us. And let us pray for ourselves, that we may not become angry, hateful of, or hurtful to those neighbors who are not helping. Demonstrations and arguments have not been convincing. Let the love of God in Jesus Christ be our tool and our guide.
I shall update you by email, church announcements, and the newsletter as our COVID precautions need to be tightened or relaxed. Your church leaders are doing their best.