Dear friends,

Not again! That was my first thought at hearing the news over Thanksgiving that yet another variant of the coronavirus is making its way around the world. There is still much to learn about the Omicron variant — how effective our vaccines are against it, the severity of the illness it causes. It is a stark reminder that we might feel over the pandemic, but the pandemic is not over. We are all sick of it.

But the danger is not over, even if we have been vaccinated and doing all the right things. This week I learned that the 39-year-old daughter (fully vaccinated) of a college friend had a breakthrough infection that landed her in the hospital for two weeks. The virus did so much damage to her liver that she is now on the list for a liver transplant. And we know that even a seemingly mild case of the virus can have long-term effects that are worse than the initial infection. 

So we will continue to wear our masks in church and use the “Delta” rule at coffee hour (taking off the mask only when eating or drinking). This continues to be the best way to love our neighbors.

I end with sharing something Bishop Wright said this week:

“Beware, what is being passed off as the gospel of Jesus Christ in many places is only the counterfeit good news of personal freedom at all costs. Nothing against personal freedoms, it’s just not the same as what Jesus actually taught.
“He taught us to be great and that greatness comes from serving all. He taught us a radical other-centeredness not a spiritualized self-centeredness. Don’t believe me, read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for yourself.
“Jesus taught that personal behavior should be amended to benefit the community, and that the community should be judged based upon how well it cares for everyone.
“For the love of God, wear your mask in public places. Get vaccinated. Love one another.”

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