Across the country we are hearing news of a surge in Covid 19 cases. In places, the numbers of cases has returned to and even exceeded the numbers of cases when we believed we were at the height of this pandemic. It is time to take extra care of one another. We do not want our hospitals, especially the ICU beds, overwhelmed. We do not want medical professionals to be obliged to do triage — deciding who gets treated and who may need to go untreated, with death a likely outcome. This would be an awful burden for them.
There are some Christians, we have all read about them in our social media and heard about them in the news, who believe that God will protect them from Covid 19, so they don’t wear masks, keep socially distant, or take any precautions. This is not the way anyone should think about God. Christians are not a special, protected group of humanity. God loves all of us humans equally. To not take the precautions that wisdom and knowledge have provided to us is to tempt God, and scripture is clear — we are not to tempt our Most High God.
Sadly, Christians do sometimes believe that God favors them over other people. In fact, sometimes this is why people become Christians, in order to get favorable treatment from God. It is not that God favors Christians over others. Being Christian simply means you have awakened to who you are in God. You are “in the know.” What you know is that God loves us and wants to create something beautiful and awesome, and we get to be part of God’s ongoing Creation. Being Christian is something like being the older child in a family and helping take care of the little ones because you are able to take on more responsibility. It doesn’t mean that your parents like you best. You are simply in the know about what it means to be part of a beloved community.
God does have preferences, as scripture also reveals, but these are preferences for the poor, the outcast, the vulnerable, the marginalized, the exploited, the trafficked, the oppressed, the troubled — the list could go on. Even a cursory reading of scripture reveals God’s care of those who most need rescue. Christians, who pattern themselves on Christ Jesus and partner with God are to foster the same attitude toward others as their loving God.
Because we know that God loves us and that we are part of God’s answer for a suffering world, we wear our masks, wash our hands, keep socially distant, don’t gather in groups — even for Church — and do all we can to protect the most vulnerable ones among us. This care for others is our responsibility as Christians. We are grateful for the wisdom that God has provided in this time of need. Grateful for the gifts that God gives us through science. We pray that God will continue to guide our scientists to the vaccine we need.
God is like a Mother of many children who does not favor one child over the others, but if one child becomes ill or injured, this Mother God will take extra care of that child. God, like a Mother, creates out of love and yearns to see each one of us thrive. It may be time to read Exodus again, or at least Exodus 3: 7-8. God heard the people cry in their suffering and went to save them. God always hears the cry of those in need. Always.
I take comfort in knowing that God hears the cry of those in need and trust that God will hear me, too, when I am in need. This does not mean that I can be foolish and ignore the wisdom that is shared with me — choosing to not wear a mask, or choosing to gather in groups in spite of what wisdom tells me — this does not mean God will protect me from my foolishness.
God cares deeply how we treat one another. Harming others or neglecting to help them in their need is an insult and shows disrespect to God Most High, who is our Creator, and loves what has been created. Let us love one another and care for each other, and be extra careful as this pandemic surges around us. Out of love of one another, wear our masks and keep socially distant, and do what we can to keep control over this virus.
And so, my beloved ones, let us keep praying for solutions, such as a vaccine, so we can be with one another, exchanging hugs again, and in the meantime, keep caring for one another.