In the Meantime,
Happenings Mar 8, 2022 – from AZ
As you may have heard, our Covid policies have changed. Our Covid team (Alison Cantley, Kody Holmes, Lloyd Harrell and Doug Campos-Outcalt) met last Friday and made the following recommendations:
1. We need not limit the size of public events at VUU.
2. At all public events, those fully vaccinated and boosted are free not to mask. (Children too young to be vaccinated are also not required to wear a mask).
3. Those who are at risk because they are immunocompromised or unvaccinated are to wear a mask at such events, or attend virtually.
4. We ask all who attend worship to wear a wristband to indicate their comfort level with human contact, whether they wear a mask or not.
5. Singing is permitted, but those who are in category 3 are still to wear masks if present.
6. The choir may sing, provided they maintain adequate distance between themselves and the congregation.
7. Those with symptoms or closely exposed should not attend in person.
It’s somewhat like that announcement you hear when flying, when they turn off the seatbelt sign and say ‘You are free to move about the cabin, but while seated please wear your seatbelts in case of turbulence.’ And like an airplane flight, if there is turbulence we may have to turn on the seatbelt light again.
Good news indeed. Of course, there is bad news all over the place, chiefly in the world beyond VUU. The war in (or perhaps better ‘on’) Ukraine is roiling the stock market. Even as the pandemic is waning, truckers are surrounding DC demanding an end to what is already ending, but the thrill of being outraged and outrageous is irresistible. Speaking of outrageous, Arizona’s own State Senator Wendy Rogers has called for hanging traitors and praising Robert E Lee, and set a new record for fundraising. If we are not as worried about Covid we can transfer that fear to humans infected with political viruses that have no known treatment or cure.
Why talk about this? Well, as I said a while back, maintaining spiritual health is what religious communities are distinctly designed to do. We come to them for help keeping body and soul together. Though the prophetic role of religion – to denounce evil and warn of danger – is essential the pastoral role of religion is equally vital. The old fashioned term was ‘the cure of souls,’ when cure meant care. If, as I have argued, the fundamental role of clergy and the institution of the church is to equip people to serve the deep hunger of the world from their deep gladness, we have a collective responsibility for the ‘cure of souls’ beyond this community.
And here is where ‘cure’ can also mean to rescue from disease. To the extent that political viruses are infecting people more and more, the vaccine for those viruses are each of you. Whenever you can respond with joy and hope to those expressing fear and anger, the virus is weakened. A reading from the hymnbook says, “You may possess only a small light, but uncover it, let it shine, use it in order to bring more light and understanding to the hearts and minds of men and women. Give them, not hell, but hope and courage.” When you think there is nothing you can do, or that the task is superhuman, then remember this and that superhuman only means (as Albert Camus observed) something that takes more than one life to accomplish.