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It is time for Christians to stop following the science.
Wait just a second. Let me explain.
It doesn’t say: Ignore common sense or current scientific thinking about medical things. The key word is “following” and what it can imply from a Christian perspective.
To be sure, this is not a political stance. It is not a protest. It is not an attempt to sway opinions. It is, however, a simple reminder (myself included) about how Christians believe the world operates and how we should respond.
And while this does not apply only to COVID-19, the logic behind the lead paragraph was brought forth after a reaction to a story in the Washington Post about the delta variant, titled “Goldilocks variant takes over U.S.” As I was reading what the delta variant is, and what it has done, and what it might become, I was hit by a stark realization of who I was, what I had done, and where my mental processes were going.
First, as a Christian, I try to look at all world events in the light of faith. Sometimes I do this well, but other times I fail. Still human.
As for what I have been doing, adhering to the science is a key component. I have tried to listen to points of view from both sides — especially when I realized many politicians were seizing the moment to win public favor, and some scientists and physicians were grabbing a spotlight that had never been so available. I stayed at home during lockdown. I wore a mask almost every time I was told it would help. I already washed my hands and carried hand sanitizer before COVID, so that was a snap. And when the vaccine became available, I took it.
When the Centers for Disease Control said I didn’t need a mask, I quit wearing it. But when the CDC said a short time later I needed it again, something clicked — and this is when I began to realize my thinking was slightly askew.
As I sat in church one Sunday, I struggled with whether it was absolutely necessary — as a fully vaccinated person — to wear my mask every second I was there.
Could I pull it down so someone could hear me speak? When I sang along with the praise music, I took it off. My wife reminded me later that was against the science. I knew it was, but I was in a rules fog.
Yet, it was in those mental-visibility-reduced moments where I found clarity.
We are so deep into the pandemic world, it has colored nearly everything we do. It has forced us to think outside the box, which is OK. But even worse we have sometimes (oftentimes?) found ourselves mentally trapped inside the box.
As a Christian, I should not be there. God said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) That means, as wildfires rage, hurricanes roar, and a virus continues to batter us day after day after day, God is still there. Right beside us.
It almost feels like we have gotten so caught up in rules, politics and science that we have temporarily lost sight of God’s preeminence. When I came to my Christian senses, I realized I had fallen short.
As a Christian community, have we fallen short?
What if we banded together — all denominations who call on the name of Jesus Christ — and set our hearts in prayer specifically for the Lord to heal our city, state, nation and world from the continuing ravages of COVID-19? I am talking about a worldwide call for Christians everywhere to stop, all at once, bend the knee, and ask God for mercy.
Yes, a planned one-time event, but followed by daily doses of prayer and more prayer.
As Christians we believe science can only succeed as far as God allows it to succeed. The vaccine is not in control. Scientists are not in control. The government is not in control.
God is in control.
Mercy and grace are our objects of hope. God is the one who delivers them. As his people, let us turn to him in unison — invoking the name of our advocate, Jesus Christ — and humbly ask for a merciful end to the pandemic.
Douglas Fritz is a reporter for the Kingsport Times-News and Johnson City Press. He attends Central Baptist Church in Johnson City.
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