The omicron variant of the coronavirus comes at a time when Michigan overall, and Isabella County specifically, are at a sustained level of crisis already. Early research suggests that this new variant is more contagious but less deadly. Still, it may make things even worse this winter.
When the COVID task force for this congregation met a couple of weeks ago, we recommended to the Board of Trustees that we shut down in-person worship for the first two weeks of January. The Board agreed and has voted to do so. This will be the first time since starting hybrid worship in August that we are fully online. This step backward is an appropriate one given the fear of the new variant and the likelihood that people will travel for Christmas and New Year’s. The plan is to stay home for a couple of weeks after the holidays and keep our germs to ourselves.
Each of us has a personal experience with this pandemic, depending on how it has touched our circle of family and friends; and how we interact with others in public and in private. And we have a collective experience of COVID, reacting to the same news at the local and national level. May we continue to navigate the challenges of this health crisis, individually and together, with grace and wisdom and courage.
Beloved god, we ask for mercy and for strength. This prayer is for all the vaccinated and all the unvaccinated. For the young and the old. For those who have had COVID and those who are afraid of getting it.
Spirit of Life, source of strength and mercy within, grant us the patience and the resolve to keep being safe for ourselves and our neighbors. To wear our masks and get our booster shots. To make good choices about where and when we gather with others.
May the health care workers get the rest and support they need. May they know that they are appreciated. May the public health officials, the scientists and researchers, and the politicians be blessed with wisdom and resolve.
May we all embrace life day by day, enjoying our good health while we have it. May we be grateful for the time we have and the loved ones with whom we share this life.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
December 17, 2021