Dear Friends and Members of Resurrection,
The diagnosis of President Trump and First Lady Melania with COVID-19 was a grim reminder that this coronavirus draws no distinction between rich and poor or powerful and weak. The First Lady had mild symptoms. President Trump had to be hospitalized. He has had the benefit of the best healthcare possible. Not all those afflicted with COVID-19 have been so blessed. In fact, a disproportionate share of the poor and people of color have suffered the consequences of the coronavirus. We pray for full recovery of President Trump, Melania, and all afflicted with COVID-19. Our hearts go out especially to those who have lost loved ones to this deadly virus.
The affliction of the President and so many in his administration with COVID-19 has been a reminder in a negative way of what can happen when we do not follow what Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), refers to as the three “W’s”: Wear a mask. Wash your hands. Watch your distance. A couple of days ago on CNN Christopher Murray of the University of Washington said that their COVID-19 model is forecasting another 200,000 deaths by the end of the year. When asked what could be done to lower that number, the first thing he said was “Wear a mask.” Right now just under 50% of the populace is following the guidance on when to wear masks. If 95% of Americans would follow the guidelines on mask-wearing, 86,000 lives would be saved in the next three months. Wearing a mask seems like such a small sacrifice to save so many lives.
Some were hoping that the President’s bout with the coronavirus would serve as a wake-up call for him. So far that does not seem to be the case. We may wish that he would take the lead in calling for a comprehensive, effective strategy to address the pandemic we are mired in. We may wish that he would at least consistently wear a mask. But we have to deal with the actual President before us. No matter what happens in the Presidential election, he will be the President for these next three months when 200,000 more people are predicted to die of COVID-19 in our nation. We may grow weary in doing what we need to do when so many around us are not. But the irresponsibility of those around us does not excuse us from doing the right thing. At the very least we can wear a mask, wash our hands, and watch our distance. Lives are depending on it.
Until we work together, listen to the advice of the scientists and take this pandemic seriously, we will be unable to return to anything like “life as normal”. The Wisconsin Council of Churches and the Greater Milwaukee Synod recommend that virtual worship in congregations continue as the norm at least until the middle of November. We miss one another. We miss gathering in person for worship. However, we are called by Jesus to do what is best for the most vulnerable among us. We are able to praise God and pray together even while being physically distanced. Please do what you are able to contain this virus. This is not about political affiliation, but about loving your neighbor as you love yourself.
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The Rev. Dr. Mary Ubuntu is the spiritual leader of Resurrection Lutheran Church and has served in that capacity since 2003. More on Pastor Mary can be found HERE.