As I prepared for worship this past Sunday I came come across a video of an exchange between Rep. Jim Jordan and Dr. Anthony Fauci during a hearing. During this rant by Rep. Jordan he blurted out the claim, “Americans haven’t been able to go to church for a year.” Here’s the clip:
Let me make one thing clear, THE CHURCH CANNOT BE CLOSED.
Central Baptist Church of Riverton-Palmyra has worshipped every week throughout the pandemic. We have done our work of caring for one another and lifting up those in need. We re-established a partnership with our Brazilian Baptist sister church.
Yes, there have been times when we shut the building down. Once, last Spring, in compliance with public health measures. And again a second time during the Winter surge out of caution.
Yes we do social distancing and require masks.
Yes, we advise people to be very cautious about being in public gatherings before they are vaccinated, and aware of their surroundings even after vaccination.
And we do limit how many people can be in a space, not that we’ve gotten near our limit during our public gatherings.
This isn’t a yielding up of our “liberties,” as Rep. Jordan and others like to screech about 1. It’s loving our neighbor.
Or, as I’d call it, “practicing our religion.” Which is what the First Amendment guarantees as a pre-existing right of humanity. And if one aspect of our faith, public worship, becomes an obstacle to loving God and loving neighbor because then we lay it aside for a time to be better exemplars of our Lord’s teaching 2.
To be blunt, I am incensed when people rant that churches have been shuttered. This is a lie, born from a complete lack of theological understanding of what the Church is and what our Savior teaches. And people like Rep. Jim Jordan using this lie as a screeching siren to summon the ignorant and angry into a foaming rage is an action spawned from the furthest demonic reaches of Hell.
My best pastoral advice, as vaccinations increase and we have a window to bring an end to this pandemic.
Do not listen to demonic voices like Rep. Jordan’s.
Follow mitigation strategies.
Love God by loving your neighbor.
- He was also claiming that Americans haven’t been able to address their Representatives for a year. Apparently Rep. Jordan has never heard of the telephone or email or text messages or zoom or Facebook or twitter. Or letters for that matter, though in this case I suppose his party has been trying to destroy that means of communication. ↩
- I find it ironic that when the shutdown happened last Spring the ritual-heavy Orthodox Communion said, “The blessing given to you in worship is still on you, and will be until we can meet again.” While the “Christianity is a relationship, not a religion” crowd have screamed bloody murder for not being able to have their way. ↩