In the light of the extraordinary picture of God’s Kingdom that we’ve been exploring through Matthew’s telling of the Good News Story of Jesus (See Matthew 5-7), can we take a moment to talk COVID19, vaccines, and masks? I know we are all so weary of this conversation but it is the reality in which we are living as Kingdom people on earth as it is in heaven. If you need to refill your cup before we begin, I’ll wait here …
We cannot deny nor ignore that the number of people getting very ill is on the rise again. There are more and more people in the hospitals and ICUs daily. And the overwhelming majority of the people in the hospitals and ICUs with COVID are those who have not taken the vaccine.
As Kingdom People the one and only guiding question for our behavior/reaction/response to this pandemic, however long it persists, is “how would Jesus love and how do I love my neighbor best in this situation?” Jesus never told anyone to demand their own personal liberties but to love and care for our neighbor and put other’s needs first.
One of the statements I’ve heard people who are refusing the COVID19 vaccine say is something along the lines of “I can think for myself. I don’t want the government trying to control me by telling me what to do.” What I see them demonstrating by their behaviors and actions is that they are not at all thinking for themselves but of themselves only. Or perhaps they’ve actually decided not to think at all because it’s the easiest, most comfortable path. To think critically and make an informed decision requires that we listen to ideas other than our own and to learn from those who have the education and experience to be rightly titled experts in a particular field of knowledge.
Following Jesus means letting the good news of the power of love and not politics or social media or our own comfort guide the choices we make. Following Jesus is keeping our egos in check not our God-given ability to think and learn and grow.
We are, each and every one of us, beloved children of God. We are unified in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Together with God we can and will make the world better because Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love as God Loves is the only thing stronger than hate and war and violence and the individualism that is destroying us.
The writers of the Gospel story tell us that Jesus was moved with compassion when he saw people hurting and suffering. He didn’t blame them or shame them or tell them to get over it and he certainly didn’t look the other way. Jesus loved them. Sometimes this love meant literally feeding them. Sometimes this love meant literally healing them. Sometimes this love meant asking the tough questions like “do you want to be well?” Sometimes this love meant saying the things others didn’t want to hear like “let the one who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Together let’s love as Jesus loves and we will live on earth as it is in heaven. If you have not already, get the vaccine. When you are out in public places, wear a mask. In this pandemic, this is what Love looks like.