Faithful and Patriotic

I’m confused. 

Can someone explain to me why the American flag has suddenly come to represent a refusal to social distance during this pandemic?

All across this country when people gather (side by side) to protest against stay at home orders, they are wearing or waving American flags; as if working together to defeat Covid 19 is somehow un-American.

I don’t get it.  When did protecting lives mean you are not a “true American”?

It even extends to churches that can’t seem to find any identity without in-person worship.

A lengthy letter from around 260 pastors in Massachusetts was recently forwarded to Gov. Baker urging him to allow a return to in-person worship in Massachusetts churches.

The letter stressed that churches should be listed as essential services.  The governor has crossed the line and is denying their constitutional, religious guarantees.

Really?  That’s what’s important?  Maybe I missed the gospel text where Jesus goes about with complete disregard for people’s health; encouraging leprosy and inflicting demon possession on people.  He did everything he could to keep people whole and healthy!  That’s Sunday School 101. 

I had not heard of this letter until it appeared in the news and I can see why.  I’m pretty sure that I am not on the email lists of the churches that signed the letter which were exclusively conservative, evangelical protestant churches.  There were no signatories from the United Church of Christ at all.

That is important because what we consider to be essential is the health and wellbeing of our parishioners and the people in our wider community.  In-person worship, while essential to any church, takes a back seat to that over-arching priority.

Now is not the time to jeopardize the hard won gains we have achieved in fighting this virus.

Saying that should be obvious.  Instead it sounds to a growing number of people as weak and un-American.

This is a disturbing trend.  Especially in Christian circles.  The church doesn’t exist because we have a constitutional right to exist.  We exist for the good of humanity. 

I cannot comprehend the rush to fill America’s pews when there is no vaccine, the virus is still vectoring all over the place and people are still dying.

Moreover, during this pandemic we haven’t stopped being the church at all.  First Congregational Church has found it stride in this new era and has bolstered its sense of community and faith-in-action.  We’ve discovered how strong and faithful and creative we can be!

Our plan is not to consider in-person worship until the fall.  I’m proud of that decision.  I think it is the faithful thing to do and the patriotic thing to do.

In Christ,

–Rev. Dominic