December 10, 2020
Members and friends,
To stem the spread and ease the burden of COVID-19 on our community, Session voted Tuesday night to extend our suspension of in-person worship through Sunday, Jan. 10. Sadly, that includes the Christmas Eve service. At our meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 12, the elders and I will re-evaluate our decision in light of public health at that time.
While there are many factors to consider, we hear God calling us to make this sacrifice as a way of loving, serving and caring for one another during this pandemic.
As I shared in announcing our initial suspension, some might regard Session’s decision as unnecessary overreach. For those with that viewpoint, please know that I respect your right to feel as you do. But always remember that God unites and evil divides, and I invite you to stand on the divine side of that equation.
As for me, any number of pastoral-care contacts strongly inform my feelings and beliefs about continuing our suspension.
At least one member of our church has been sick with COVID-19 for more than a month. While she is recovering, she still battles a nagging cough and chronic fatigue. For many, COVID-19 definitely is not the flu!
Then there are the exhausted health-care workers to whom I continue to reach out. In describing what their shifts are like, here are some of the phrases they use: “Crazy time.” “Living nightmare.” “Entering a warzone.” “Worse than I could ever imagine.”
A nurse at a local residential care facility painted this heartbreaking picture: “The residents are sitting in isolation, waiting for their turn with the disease and wondering if they will survive it. It is horrendous.”
But the most poignant assessment of what it’s like to be sick with COVID-19 came from a congested, phlegm-laden teen-ager with whom I visited: “You don’t ever think about your breathing until you can’t.”
Finally, to the elders and me, a nurse offered this: “Thank you for your efforts to keep the community safe.”
From your lips to God’s ears, my friend!
~ Pastor Grant