An important reflection from my friend Rich Dixon:
Confession: I’m frustrated. Jesus and I need to talk about COVID and The Space Between.
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I’m a wheelchair guy. No one questions my disability. Most folks are willing at least to acknowledge and accommodate.
Some people struggle with “invisible” disabilities. I’m thinking especially of two dear friends with immune deficiency due to life-sustaining drugs or their bodies’ compromised systems. This unseen disability renders vaccines less effective and becomes especially dangerous during COVID.
Autoimmune diseases impact 3% of the population. Add cancer patients and survivors, transplant recipients, drug regimens, and it’s a good bet you know someone like my two friends.
Their lives have become increasingly isolated. They avoid most indoor gatherings, shop online whenever possible, carefully avoid close contact at the grocery store during off hours.
But that’s not why I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated because my friends can’t attend church without literally risking their lives.
I know – masks and vaccines have become divisive and political. I’m supposed to avoid or talk around such issues.
But here are these two dear friends who have loved and served Jesus for decades and now need His community so badly, and they’re caught in the space between.
Oh, they could attend. They could be virtually the only ones wearing masks. They could be vigilant about distancing, constantly wondering who’s not vaccinated, standing apart and alone while others gather and talk. They could endure the spoken and silent questions about an unseen but very real disability.
They could wonder, despite their caution, if this is the day they bring death to their immunocompromised grandson due to someone else’s carelessness.
Welcome, not included – the space between. I’m frustrated about that.
This isn’t about two people or one church. I suspect folks in every town choose between quiet isolation and risking their lives to be part of a church community to which they are deeply committed.
Jesus and I need to talk.
And Jon says, “amen”.