As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, I recall driving to pick up my kindergartener son on that tragic and eerie day. While the memories of horror are vivid for many of us, for others, including our youth minister who was only 8 years old at the time, it is something from the history books. On that day, we lost 2,977 people in the towers and planes and pentagon. We were stunned and I felt powerless to protect my tender child, oblivious to the dangers of this world of terrorism and hate.
For younger folks today, the global pandemic is the life altering event that they will remember. To date, over 650,000 Americans have died of covid. At this moment, the daily death toll has reached a stunning 1,499 (over 10,000 per week). Even now that the vaccine is widely available for those over 12, the infection rate is rising in the majority of states.
While many tragedies cannot be prevented, the loss of life due to covid is within our hands to change. Through the miracle of science, a vaccine was created and tested at record speed. I received my second vaccine the day after Easter and it felt like a bit of resurrection. I had no side effects and will eagerly take the booster when it becomes advisable and available. Not only was I relieved that I’m not as likely to get it, or get a life threatening case of it, but more importantly, I am less likely now to pass it on to a vulnerable person, like a child or a elderly friend or my parents.
Jesus was a healer. Dozens of stories in the Bible tell of Jesus reaching out to heal. Sometimes with a touch. Sometimes with a word. Always with compassion. One of my favorite healing stories is when Jesus says to a man paralyzed and sitting by the side of a pool that was alleged to have healing powers, “Take up your mat and walk.” Jesus invited the man to participate in the miracle of healing by taking action. While Jesus lived in a day without the wonders of antibiotics, vaccines and chemotherapy, the Bible points again and again to the activity of God healing through whatever means available. The word “sozo” means both healing and salvation.
The church made a huge mistake when it denied Galileo’s discovery that the world was round and not flat. You would think that we had learned our lesson. But today, people still deny science and see it as somehow at odds with faithfulness to God. My view is that God created a world that includes the wonders of scientific discovery and God created us with the intellectual capacity to discover vaccines. I pray that more and more of our brothers and sisters will soon take the vaccine. Together, we can experience God’s healing, God’s salvation.
Grace and Peace,
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