Many of our children and youth are right now starting a new, strange, school year. Young adults are headed to college. Teachers, parents, administrators, staff and students are navigating transitions that in other seasons felt much less fraught with anxiety than this go-round.
Hand sanitizer and masks are necessary supplies no less than pencils and notebooks. Plexiglass and social distancing are still prevalent despite the commercials showing bright shining faces in close proximate spaces, clearly filmed prior to the Delta variant’s emergence.
I find myself holding my breath, hoping, praying that back to school can remain back to classrooms, dorms and cafeterias. I also want to do whatever is in our power to keep our kids healthy. How could we, in the name of the One who welcomed children, not do our part to stem the tide of this latest COVID resurgence?
That’s why we’re holding steady on wearing masks, keeping some physical space between us, hosting another vaccine clinic, and washing our hands frequently. Not only do we want to protect those who come into our church, we want to contribute to the well-being of our community. We want to look out for the most vulnerable among us. So, if you are getting weary of the three WWW’s (wearing a mask, washing your hands and waiting six feet apart), and surely, we are all weary of the many ways this pandemic has impacted us, remember that your small sacrifices can make a big difference for the least of these where Jesus told us he is found.
Every time we don our masks, we might think of them as sacred symbols that reveal our love of our neighbors. Every time we wash our hands we could think of it as an act of holy service, not unlike Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet. Every time we are careful and cautious about how we share space we should remember that nothing separates us from the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.
I, like all of us, really wanted this Fall to be not just back to school but back to normal. I wanted to think less about what used to be ordinary undertakings, going out with friends, singing in worship, visiting people in the hospital. Unfortunately, we aren’t there yet. But we will be, eventually. And we will be there sooner, with more of us here and healthy, if we do whatever we can for the sake of one another.
I look forward to looking you in the eyes, from a few feet away, and telling you how great it is to see you even if we have to maintain a little distance for a little while longer.