Good Morning Church!
Today might still be a bit nippy out, but the snow has (mostly) melted, the sun is shining, and each day our daylight hours grow a little longer. It’s a good day to live in the North Country!
Next week Rev. Shaun will be preaching and leading worship, bringing us a word from the Word for Palm Sunday. And the following Sunday, April 4th, is Easter Sunday. And while it is sad that we are not able to gather together again this year to celebrate Easter, we know that resurrection for us is on its way! With every passing week, more and more people are being vaccinated, hastening the day when we will be safe to come together once again for in-person worship. (Session will be meeting on April 1st, and I hope to have a tentative date to announce after that for a return to the sanctuary. Stay tuned!)
Speaking of vaccinations, I am delighted to announce that I received my second dose of the Moderna vaccine this last week. The day after for me was bumpy– I had chills and exhaustion, but the following day I was fine. I know that some folks are feeling nervous about getting the vaccine, so I wanted to share something my friend Robin McClellan said the other day. He commented, “I don’t think that science is always right and I fear that many of us have turned science into a religion of sorts. That said, I think science is a very good framework to analyze some aspects of health, particularly public health and communicable diseases. If it was just to keep myself safe, I might have waited. But I still have a scar from my smallpox vaccination, a reminder that vaccines do work! If we find down the road that there are ill effects, so be it. I knew that was a possibility and I won’t blame anyone for it unless there was malfeasance.”
Is it fun to feel crummy for a day? No. Is it possible there may be side effects from the vaccine that we don’t yet know about? Yes. But in the big picture, are these potential side effects more important than all of us being able to come together safely and return to a more normal life? As you make this decision for yourself in the coming weeks, I urge you to keep in mind a sense of the big picture, while also considering the possible personal side effects.
In other good news– Sue Waters took on the task of submitting an application for our church for the second round of PPP money being distributed by the federal government, which helps small businesses and nonprofits to stay afloat during the pandemic. (PPP stands for Payroll Protection Program). If we receive the money again, it will go to help pay our payroll and utility expenses for a 10-week period. Last time we were awarded around $12,000, so keep your fingers crossed!
Friends, in some ways it feels like the pandemic is starting to wind down, and if you’re anything like me, you can’t wait for this to be over with! This is why we’re rejoicing as restrictions are beginning to lift and more people become vaccinated. These bright spots, however, combined with how sick and tired we are of social distancing, make it easy for us to want to throw caution to the wind and toss out our good sense altogether. I want to remind us though that St. Lawrence County is not out of the woods yet. While caseloads are falling in places like Jefferson and Essex counties, we’re still in the “orange zone,” and at critical levels of active outbreak. So while some of us are feeling freer to go out into public places–especially if you’ve been vaccinated–please still wear your masks!
Every wise or foolish personal choice we make has bearing on our friends, neighbors, and family. So keep at it a little while longer, Saints! Persist with your persistence! We can do this!
1 Peter was a short letter written to the early church at a time when believers were facing real and present danger from the world around them for their faith. This letter was written to encourage believers to hold fast to God in their struggles. While we do not face the same dangers of persecution those early Christians faced, the author’s words still make good sense for what we’re dealing with in this time of pandemic.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.1 Peter 5:6-9
May we remember to cast all our cares upon God, who cares for us! And may we continue to stay disciplined and alert!
Keep on Keepin’ On!