Warning: contained in this post are my personal thoughts and feelings. They are not necessarily those of all the people I serve or even live with for that matter. They are mine. And just like I respect your right to possess and act on your thoughts and feelings, I’m asking the same from you.
Without question the majority of the world is desiring for things to return to some sense of normalcy. Perhaps we’ll never see life exactly how it was just a few very long weeks ago but we long for some rhythm to our days. All of us have been dealing with interrupted schedules and the inability to really do anything outside of our homes.
Malls are closed. Public gathering spaces have been locked. Many outdoor venues have even been shut down. While I won’t argue the necessity of this massive reaction and long arm reach by the government, it’s time to move beyond it. We can’t stay here forever. We can’t stay much longer at all!
A couple of days ago I unveiled what we’re calling our re-entry plan for getting together for worship again at the church I serve. Prior to releasing this plan, I have spent countless hours reading journals, listening to reports, calculating real numbers, and evaluating the countries and states who’ve gone before us. All of this cradled in prayer for wisdom and discernment. And it is time.
It’s time to let the people decide their response to this imposed crisis. It’s time to let the people of our country and, in my case, the people I serve determine when they’re ready to return. Rest assured, we will do our part. Prior to reopening the building for our first public, in-person gathering we will thoroughly clean and sanitize the entire building one more time. Every hard surface will be scrubbed and disinfected by one of us who’s been in the building the past few weeks in an effort to limit the chance for bringing in any outside germs.
We’ve made modifications to how we enter and exit. We’ve changed how we gather our offerings and how we take communion. We’ve eliminated paper bulletins and handshaking. We’ll let people spread out as they are able. Building capacity will be limited. And many other changes have been made to prepare us to come back together again.
But why now? Why not wait until it’s gone?
If you’ve been listening to the self-proclaimed experts on this matter, you’ve undoubtedly heard that this virus will be with us for a long time to come. Some have said for 12-18 months at a minimum. If you’ve done the statistical analysis and research on contraction, spread and fatality rates that I have you’d potentially come to the conclusion that perhaps our original guesses regarding severity were overblown to say the least.
Now, I know that not everyone will agree with me and that’s the beauty of the America my grandfather fought to defend. You have the right to your views and I have the right to mine. You can believe the reports that I feel are one-sided and continue to shelter in place until the virus is completely eradicated from our world. You have the right to not attend public worship. You have the right to wear a mask and gloves and a whole body suit if you’d like! You have the right to your opinions, and I absolutely respect them as your opinions.
But there’s one right you don’t have. Our constitution does not give you the right to believe for me anymore than it gives me to right to believe for you. So in the same manner that I respect your decision to stay home, wear a mask, cover yourself with gloves and special protective gear – please respect my choice not to. Trust that I care about you more than you could imagine which is why I feel it mission critical for us to come together again.
There is a harm being done in our society far greater than a disease that kills the body. The current state of affairs in the United States is killing the will of the people. That is the very thing upon which this country was founded. The will to establish a nation by and for the people. The will that took our forefathers across the waters to establish a home in a new land. The will and drive of the American people has paved the way for some of the most amazing innovations this world has ever seen. The heart of America was at one time a giant that caused the world to stand back and just be in awe. It’s time that giant rise again.
I fear the longer we shelter in place and hide behind masks and gloves the longer we allow this virus to spread among us. There is a lot of research done on herd immunity and the body’s ability to naturally develop antibodies, but what we’re not hearing is that our bodies won’t develop them if we’re not exposed to any illness to which we need to develop antibodies. And the more time we spend together as an American people, forgetting on what side of the aisle we sit, the stronger we become as a nation.
There are two viruses killing Americans, and we can stop them both if we stop letting fear be the driver.
The long and short is this, if you want to come by all means you are welcome! If you don’t feel well then please stay home (that’s really nothing new anyway!) Continue to wash your hands something I hope you did before the world shut down! Wear whatever personal protective equipment you desire. Stay away from humanity if you so choose. If you’re in a compromised physical state, then please stay home and take care of yourself. When you’re ready we’ll be here. If you need anything during this time please reach out and let me know. We’ll do what we can to find a way to help you.
Be strong. Be well. And let’s be Americans.