What Do Vaccines and Church Have in Common? (June 2015; Volume 4, Issue 6)
A couple of months ago, worry about an outbreak of the measles virus and the safety of vaccines filled the news. In the midst of the coverage, I heard one news anchor make a good point, instead of just playing into the hype and increasing fear. I do not re-member whom or on what station it was, but it stuck with me when she suggested that we do not just get vaccines for our own safety. Public health is as big of an issue as the individual.
The point of this article is not to promote or discourage the use of vaccines, but simply to suggest we make the same shift in perspective when it comes to worship attendance and wider congregational participation.
Our consumer society tends to focus on what we get out of any deal, activity, or transaction. We even do this with church sometimes, asking questions such as:
- What do I get out of worship?
- Do I enjoy it enough to take the time?
- Do I like the hymns we are singing today?
- Do I feel like going?
- Will the sermon speak to me?
- Is the time convenient for me?
- Is the space accessible to me?
But what if we considered the wider good as much as we did our personal preference more often, especially when it comes to the church. What if we asked questions such as:
- What might my neighbor need from worship this week?
- Who considers that hymn I hate their favorite?
- How might my presence help someone else experience God?
- How might I proclaim the gospel to those around me through word or deed?
- Is the time convenient for young families and those caring for homebound loved ones?
- Is our church building and worship services accessible to others?
We are the body of Christ, gathered and called to be together, to worship togeth-er, to build one another up, to work to expand the reign of God together. I am not sug-gesting that you ignore your own spiritual needs, but simply that you consider others’ as equally legitimate. Might there be a time and place that the needs of the body outweigh your personal fear, hesitation, or preference? You might even be surprised about how life-giving prioritizing the other, the wider community, the reign of God might be!
I encourage you to think about this alternate perspective when deciding whether worship regularly over the summer or not, but also especially when thinking about our upcoming Semi-Annual Congregational Meeting (Sunday, June 7th after worship).
Won’t you please join us?!?