Stick it

Stick it

I just got my first Covid vaccination. The stick itself was no big deal. I’m sitting in the observation room for 15 minutes to ensure that I’m not one of those rare cases that has a reaction to the vaccine. I’m already scheduled for dose #2.

I got my vaccine as early as possible for two reasons.

Reason #1: So that I can do my job! At present, I cannot visit anyone in the hospital, am limited in access to nursing homes and hospices, and constrained in making pastoral calls in homes. Those people who need the care of their shepherd have been prevented from receiving that care.

Further, as evidenced by my absence from the pulpit two Sundays ago, the slightest chance of exposure to someone who is COVID-positive prevents me from standing before my congregation and doing what, especially right now, is the most significant part of my pastoral calling: proclaim the hope, peace, joy, and love that is available to us ONLY through the gospel of Jesus…and for which our world is in desperate need.

I want to do everything I can to eliminate the roadblocks that keep me from doing my job as your shepherd. That’s reason number 1 for getting the shot.

Reason #2: I want my flock back! I want to see the sheep entrusted to my care able to gather…all of them…on Sunday mornings for worship. Yes, I’m grateful for our virtual church. I’m grateful that Chapel Hill Online has made it possible for people who choose not or dare not gather in person to still participate with their church family in the act of corporate worship.

But it is still not the same. There is something about being together that cannot be reproduced virtually, no matter how good a job we do. I want to see your faces. And…someday…squeeze your hand and, dare I hope, give you a hug again. I want to prowl the aisles before church and greet you as I once did.

So, I’m getting my vaccine to encourage you to do the same. Especially my friends from the classic service. Unsurprisingly, that has been the service that has been slowest to return. But I LOVE that we offer a classic worship option and it is my hope that we will continue to have enough worshipers who present themselves in the sanctuary at 8:30 am to join in the singing of the great hymns of the church…but that remains to be seen.

So…I want to do my job…and I want to set an example. That’s why I did it.

The Pierce County Department of Emergency Management Mobile Immunization Clinic will provide COVID-19 vaccinations in the Chapel Hill south parking lot on Saturday, January 30, and Saturday, February 27. Appointments are required. We’ll have more details soon. CHI Franciscan has requested that our church recruit available retired nurses and doctors to help administer vaccinations, and we are gladly trying to do that.

For those of you who are concerned, or suspicious, I would urge you to go to this link and listen to an interview with Dr. Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institute of Health. Dr. Collins is one of the most trusted physicians in the United States. He headed up the human genome project. More to the point, Collins is a devout, devout follower of Jesus Christ whose word, in my opinion, can be trusted. Perhaps hearing from him will be an encouragement to you.

Bless you, my dear church family. Keep safe. And…I hope you’ll join me in the “stick parade.”

Pastor Mark