To my Christian brothers and sisters who are not vaccinated against COVID-19, this message is for you. It is neither a mockery nor a condemnation of your choice — it is simply a reminder that rejecting the vaccine is not the only choice you can make as a committed Christian.
I fear the fingers of politics have wormed their way into the church on this issue. Even if your own pastor rejects vaccination, there are many conservative clergy who recommend the opposite: getting vaccinated. I repeat this message not to criticize, but because it’s only a matter of time until someone I love dies from a COVID infection simply because they chose not to receive the vaccination.
To illustrate this point, Pastor George Davis of Impact Church in Jacksonville, Florida says it better than I can. When asked why his church was hosting a vaccination event, he replied that six of his church members died in the last 10 days. Four of them under were under the age of 35 and at least one was a teenager. All were healthy. All were unvaccinated.
“And I’m tired of crying about and burying people I love,” said Pastor George. “So take the political and religious games somewhere else!”
If you believe this must be another “liberal” social justice church, you should have a look at the church’s website. Check out the “what we believe” and “core values” pages, while you’re there.
Yes, I am aware some of you can’t get the vaccine for medical reasons. I understand that — this message is not for you. If you have chosen to remain unvaccinated for reasons unrelated to your faith, same thing. If your reasons are purely political, man, that’s just crazy. But if your decision to avoid vaccination lies within your faith or comes from your church family, I urge you to look at other churches and clergy to see what they say. Think of it as a sort of “spiritual second opinion.” You’ll find a lot of them are also opposed to vaccination. But I guarantee, if you look, you will find socially conservative congregations and parishes with like-minded clergy who nevertheless recommend getting vaccinated.
You do have more than one choice.
Pastor George offered this prayer:
Dear Father God,
Thank you for the wisdom and insight you’ve given to the scientists and medical community to be able to develop a vaccine that is effective against this hideous virus.
For the many of us who have been praying for a resolution, we thank you for providing one. I now humbly ask you to help us all weed through the bickering, finger-pointing, partisan politics, fear, religious extremism and conspiracy theories to see the gift that lies in front of us.
Please speak to the hearts of those who are truly seeking guidance to help them see whether it is or is not your will for them to be vaccinated. And help us to all come together with reasonable hearts to do what is best for one another.
I ask this in Jesus’ name.
All I can add is my own “amen.”
Photograph © Spencer Davis via Pixabay