Navigating these troubled waters of the Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging for all of us. I have appreciated the guidance from Scripture in plotting my course. As a Christian, I am instructed by this counsel from the Apostle Paul, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” (Romans 13:1). As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have endeavored to go the extra mile to protect members of my family and my community. Jesus said, “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.” (Matthew 5:41).
I am a soul undergoing a transformation into the image of Jesus. My resolve for a life of service and sacrifice continues to be buttressed in this process.*
As a student of science, I see the intelligence of God repeatedly revealed in the growth in our human understanding of creation. I am at peace in following the development of insights and guidance from trusted sources as Covid-19 continues to be scientifically investigated.
Before the implementation of Covid-19 restrictions, I had hit the pause button on some of my life activities. This was due to increasing physical challenges, which I have been dealing with over the past three years. That pause most likely made the adjustment to stricter restrictions easier. I was content to quiet myself even more in my quarantine.
Then, news reached us that my youngest brother, Brad, had unexpectedly passed away. He resided in San Marcos, California, a 750-mile distance from our door to his. The trip there became a necessity. There were required arrangements that needed to be made. The probate process had to be implemented, and the house needed to be prepared for its future disposition.
I had two significant concerns about making this trip. The first concern was the reality that the physical challenges of traveling have been increasing for me over the past three years. The second was a concern about being safe amid this pandemic. As usual, we would depend on the superabundant grace of God on this journey. I am happy to report that the grace of God continues to be sufficient. I am also delighted to write that the care demonstrated by our fellow citizens was very touching. Wherever we went during our odyssey, the vast majority of people were wearing masks. Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras is our route of choice. We were surprised at the volume of fellow travelers on the road. At every stop, whatever the venue, we noted that these fellow travelers and vacationers were wearing masks and endeavoring to respect social distancing. Joanne and I have a running joke about how often we stop at a location in our travels only to discover that the floor has just been mopped. I must wait patiently for the flooring to dry. This trip, we were happy to regard this nuisance as a positive sign of the care being taken to protect our health. Most of our meals were take-out. We did enjoy a meal at a Mexican restaurant with my brother Randy while in San Marcos. Patio dining was permitted in California at that point. This restaurant had several wide-open patios from which to choose. I was impressed by the staff who went the extra mile for us. We felt safe during our extended time relaxing and conversing on the patio . . . . and, of course, enjoying tasty Mexican cuisine.
On the way home to Lakeview, we lodged one night in Sparks, Nevada. The government guidelines made allowances for indoor dining with social distancing. We decided to forgo the brown-bag breakfast offering from our motel and experience and indoor breakfast dining experience at the nearby Dennys. You guessed it! The bathroom floor had just been mopped!!! We were very impressed with how corporate Denny’s had instituted detailed guidance on how the staff would protect our health. Even to the detail of being served pepper in a tiny plastic cup with a lid.
We live in a great country with great people. These great people are willing to make the necessary sacrifices to protect their fellow human beings. Too often, the contrarians get the press. I am happy to give a shout-out to these good citizens who worked together to make our journey safer. And, of course, another shout-out to the amazing and all-sufficient GRACE of GOD!
Personal Observation and opinion:
- Frankly, it never occurred to me to be concerned about MY rights and freedoms during this pandemic. Then I started to read on social media and hear news reports about church leaders and churches publicly objecting to government-imposed restrictions. Some were even filing suit. I must admit I was caught a little off-guard. Public gatherings, not religious institutions, were the focus of the restrictions. The purpose of these regulations was to protect the health ofour fellow community members and to flatten the curve of potential cases to take an unnecessary load of our medical community.
- Trials, such as this pandemic, reveal one’s core values and test one’s commitment to those core values. I believe Christian core values should include a willingness to serve and make sacrifices for others. For the church and its leadership, trials expose philosophies of ministry and commitment to those convictions. For me, the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15), the discipling of nations (Matthew 28:19-20), and the expansion of His Kingdom (Matthew 6:33) are the top three priorities related to the church’s involvement in the world. A savvy contemporary church will communicate to its community by word and deed, “We are here to serve you. We are willing to sacrifice and go the extra mile to protect your health.” That astute church will increase the favor of their community members toward Jesus, His good news, and His Church. Churches that insist on standing up for their perceived rights and freedoms during this pandemic are narcissistic. They risk creating a needless stumbling block for the gospel and the expansion of the kingdom.
- “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5–8, NLT)