Benefit vs Risk

When I lived in Arizona, I was blessed by an amazing public health nursing supervisor, Sally Lewis.  Sally was highly valued in the public health circles. Her wisdom was pure gold. She dug her heels in when it mattered and broke boundaries when disease crossed the lines. I do not know if she ever realized how Christ-like her actions were in a secular world. She had one guiding principle that always stood to me–one must weigh the risks vs the benefits when determining a course of action.

Risks vs benefits. That is the question of 2020 isn’t it?  Does the risk to reopen outweigh the benefits?  Sally would say that one must far exceed the other in order to be a clear-cut decision, otherwise we were gambling with people’s lives. When in doubt, always error on the side of safety. Do no harm was a policy to protect people, not a political statement.

Jesus was also not a gambler. When the religious leaders were agitated by his teachings, Jesus removed the disciples to a safer location, mitigating the risks and increasing the benefits of more personal time with his students.As we move closer to in-person gatherings this fall, we need to ask ourselves, what are the risks vs. the benefits of worshiping together—not just to us personally, but to the community?   While the risks can be mitigated by behavior changes and cleaning practices, they will not be eliminated entirely. The virus makes sure of that.  

So then, what really are the benefits of in-person worship?  If it is simply because we miss one another, then pick up a phone and talk with one other. It is not worth the risk because gathering by itself is not a benefit to Christ. 

But, if gathering improves our unified spiritual health, mission, and sense of purpose as a church, then the benefits may outweigh the risks once mitigated. This is not a time for meek and mild Christianity–no lukewarm participation. We must let the Word really change our lives and empower us to be Christ for our community by making it a better place to live. Gathering must clearly outweigh the risks, otherwise we are gambling.

·         It will be tempting to linger before and after worship, but we cannot.

·         It will be tempting to sing out loud, but we dare not.

·         It will be tempting to disregard one or more safety protocols, but we must not.

Temptation is gambling and both yield to Christ. May Christ be seen in us, in our purpose, and in our gathering.   May the benefits be clear to us as well as others. 

Pastor Terri.

 

PS. The date to resume in-person worship is still pending.  


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