Wanted: Another Great Awakening

Window – Stormy Seas McKinley United Methodist Church, Winona MN 2001

After a year and a half of controversy and coming to blows over mask mandates, social distancing, school closings, restaurant closings and Covid vaccines, I’ve concluded we need another *Great Awakening in this country. We need a conversion to a love and concern for our brothers and sisters.

Governor Bill Lee has had his setbacks in trying to keep people in Tennessee safe. In his skeptical state, actions to prevent Covid have been met with anger, resentment and rumors. Recently, he issued Executive Order 83, a health measure in the face of the exploding numbers of people in Tennessee filling up their hospitals. The order allows the National Guard to fill in gaps in their overstressed healthcare system. Within days, conspiracy theories took off. Forced to deal with the rumors, the Governor’s staff sent a memo to their State Legislature dispelling the myths, including some quite strange ones.

The memo explicitly stated, Executive Order 83:
     Does not create quarantine camps.”
      “Tennessee National Guard members will not round up unvaccinated citizens and take them to be quarantined or vaccinated.”
       “COVID-19 vaccines are not being given to livestock so it will enter the food supply to vaccinate citizens through meat consumption.”

Back in December, as the vaccine rollout began, Governor Lee said: “One thing this vaccine will not solve, or cure is selfishness or indifference to what is happening to our neighbors around us. This vaccine will not cure foolish decisions about how we gather. It will not cure an attitude of a refusal to wear a mask. It will not cure having the idea that ‘I will take chances and it will not impact someone else’s life.'”

My first year of seminary, a missionary couple told us that people experience two conversions in their faith life. “The first conversion people experience is to God,” they said. “The second conversion is to their brothers and sisters.”

The cure for selfishness is conversion – a changed attitude. It’s to realize that our actions do have an impact on other people’s lives. We need a Great Awakening that includes both love for God and love for our neighbors. We need a love that looks beyond our wants and preferences, to our neighbor’s needs.

We need to recognize again what the writer of I John so aptly stated: “Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.” I John 5:20-21

Wearing a mask and looking out for each other during a pandemic, is Christ like love. The very essence of faith and the heart of Christianity.

 

*The Great Awakening was a period when people turned back to God.  The Second Great Awakening, led to social changes.  

10 thoughts on “Wanted: Another Great Awakening

  1. There are people way smarter than I am on both sides of the debate. Many doctors are urging everyone to take the shots. At the same time there are also many doctors, including one of the researchers who developed the mRNA shots, (“We made a big mistake…”) who are warning people of all the dangers. One side is hell-bent on censoring opposing opinions, or even questions. Some “experts” have said masks work, others say they are more harmful than helpful, especially to children. I think most people are just confused.
    What is most harmful, spiritually speaking, is when we assume those who disagree with us are selfish, ignorant monsters who don’t care what happens to others – or evil tyrants bent on genocide. I really believe most people want the best for everyone, we just disagree on what is best. Even if we see the other side as “enemies,” Jesus says we are love them and pray for them. That’s the best way to represent Him, not pointing fingers and accusing – that’s what the rest of the world does. With Christ in us, we can do better.

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    • Sometimes, it is good to look outside our own borders to get a sense of what other nations are doing that works. I have family in Taiwan, where everyone wears masks. Every school child has been wearing a mask since the pandemic started. They have been able to contain Covid because people wear masks. School children are not being harmed, even though Taiwan is a hot and humid place to live. There are no people saying their rights are being violated because the government wants them to wear a mask. I know there is a mountain of misinformation which has impacted decisions here around the vaccine, and one can be uneasy about something so new, but simple things like wearing a mask and social distancing are not hard to do. Governor Lee called out people who were willing to take their chances with Covid, but refused to see that if they got sick, they could be the source of the death of a family member or friend.

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