Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…

“Now there are a variety of gifts, but the same Spirit; there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” I Corinthians 12:4-7

Have we somehow lost sight of the “common good?” Has our society become so self-centered that we have lost the ability to consider how our actions will affect our neighbors?

The Apostle Paul reminds us of our Christian responsibility saying, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

I am fully vaccinated. The latest science indicates that I have little to fear from the Delta variant of Covid-19. The threat to me is very small, the likelihood of serious illness or hospitalization is miniscule.

On Monday, July 26th the following was published in the New York Times:

“Let’s start with a few facts that are clear:
• Vaccinated people are nearly guaranteed not to be hospitalized or killed by Covid.
• Among children under 12, who remain ineligible for the vaccine, serious forms of Covid are also extremely rare. Children face bigger risks when they ride in a car.
• The Delta variant does not appear to change either of those facts.
• Millions of unvaccinated American adults are vulnerable to hospitalization or death from Covid.”

What will it look like in our community to love and respect each other as we work together for the “common good?” Can we put aside political and philosophical differences? Can we “in humility regard others as better than ourselves”?

What will it look like for the people of TLC to unite our efforts for the “common good?” First, I believe that all who can be safely vaccinated should be vaccinated. This pandemic is not about individuals or individual rights, it is about something bigger. Namely, what it means to be a part of a community; what it means to be united as citizens in pursuit of the “common good” of all citizens. The science is clear, those who are eligible should be vaccinated. Not worried about your own health? Then get vaccinated for your neighbor; don’t be a virus carrier.

Secondly, given the Delta variant, I am going to ask our worshipers to wear masks again for at least the next two weeks. Vaccinated and unvaccinated, our masks will be a sign of our care for others and our unified effort to address this pandemic. You won’t need masks outside or in the coffee hour where open spaces and open doors should provide a greater level of safety.

I am fully vaccinated, I do not fear this virus in the least, but I am going to wear a mask out of respect for others. It is not about me, at least it shouldn’t be. Following Jesus should check our egos and inspire us to live for others.

For the first two Sundays in August, I would encourage you to wear a mask in worship. We will re-evaluate this policy on a regular basis as we work together for the “common good.”

I will see you in church this Sunday!

Pastor Jim