Where we will be tomorrow depends on the decisions that we make today. Decisions determine our destiny. We all must make decisions concerning COVID-19. There are good, smart people on all sides of the issues. Decisions made will reflect our attitude towards ourselves and other people.
One issue is about wearing masks. I will wear one at appropriate times to communicate that I care about other people. Let me paraphrase a famous statement by President John F. Kennedy – “Mask not because of what it will do for you, but mask for what you can do for others.”
One of the best ways to help contain the spread of COVID-19 is for everybody to try to help take care of each other. We are better together! Whether something is mandated, suggested, or proposed, I need to seriously consider participating. If it’s going to save the life of one person or keep one person from contracting the coronavirus, it’s worth any kind of inconvenience on my part.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has indicated that 47% of American adults suffer from conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, chronic lung disease, and chronic kidney disease that make them vulnerable. We don’t know what underlying conditions other people have. For that reason, we ought to be doubly careful about caring for them.
A lot of people have to make decisions about resuming in-person worship. I encourage pastors to pray, study, and be cautious. There is no “right” answer for every situation. The use of live streaming, technology, outdoor worship, television – these have enabled many churches to conduct meaningful worship. It’s better to wait too long to resume in-person worship than to go back too quickly. Try to envision the consequences of whatever decision you make.
A church in Marshall County, Alabama, had a revival event where ABC News reported that more than forty people contracted coronavirus infections. A church in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, decided to resume in-person worship. One 56-year-old man attended and spread COVID-19 to ninety-one people! The majority of the people who contracted the disease were in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
I don’t know much about the cause and containment of the virus, but I do want to listen to people who are speaking out of a disciplined study of the issues and prayerful consideration of their decisions. Opinions offered by uninformed people could potentially be dangerous.
One of the most popular singing groups of all-time was The Beatles. Tom Potter observed that after enjoying a lot of success, each of them became selfishly concerned about himself. Selfishness began to divide them. George Harrison wrote a song entitled “I, Me, Mine.” The words are simple. Just repeat a lot of times, “I, Me, Mine.” That was the last song that The Beatles recorded together!
If we try to curtail COVID-19 by practicing “I, Me, Mine,” our society will fall apart and the virus will continue to spread. The best decisions are based on The Golden Rule: “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.” (Matt 7:12 MSG)
What’s your decision?