This is the sign of hope that we’ve been waiting for, the concrete step that shows this pandemic is finally going to end. It’s a light at the end of the tunnel. In some months, enough of us will be vaccinated that we can see each other again: in families, groups of friends, and gatherings of our congregation.
And, it’s going to be a long tunnel.
Experts say that it will be not spring but summer before enough people are vaccinated that we can really control the virus. They say that wearing masks may be advisable in some circumstances even after that. I don’t know how successful the government and the public health system will be in the huge effort to vaccinate millions of people. Certainly, some will resist getting the vaccine, and there will be struggles (both political and social)l over this disease for many months to come. In the short term, the spike is higher than ever and hospital beds are filling up. Social gatherings for Christmas, cold winter weather, and seasonal flu may all contribute to a worsening health crisis in the next few months.
In light of all this, the Fellowship’s virus task force met this week and decided to take a step back in our stance toward COVID: we were allowing a few small groups to gather in the Fellowship Hall but that is cancelled; everyone who enters the building for any reason is reminded to wear a mask at all times. The board of trustees had already voted to have Sunday worship online only through May. General Assembly in June has recently been moved to online only as well.
I feel a strange mixture of optimism and dread at this moment in the pandemic. I feel like we all need to hunker down and survive the winter, hoping for better things in the months that follow. As we do, we will need each other for support more than ever.
Spirit of Life and Love, may the health care workers be safe and well. May they find the rest they need at the end of their long hospital shifts.
May the elders find hope as they take their place in the front of the vaccine line. May those in the middle and the back of the line find patience as they wait their turn.
Loving and merciful God, may we all find strength to endure this winter. May we find the compassion and the will to reach out to one another in kindness; may we be creative in forming community and connection while staying safe.
May it be so.
Rev. Andrew Frantz