Dear Church: I can’t see Christ through you.
I’m a nurse working during a global pandemic and here’s what I see.
I see packed auditoriums for festive Christmas programs with almost no masks, and zero social distancing in Missouri. I know what this will mean for my colleagues in the weeks to come. They’ll work feverishly right around Christmas to save the lives of people who attended those events, or family members of people who attended these events. They’ll have to work overtime over the holiday to give the afflicted the best chance of survival. They’ll put themselves in harms way to do that. I see you trading your right to gather for the medical staff’s ability to spend Christmas with their children. I see you relishing your right to fellowship while denying someone else the right to breathe and survive. I don’t see love. I don’t see compassion. I don’t see self sacrifice. I don’t see any of the things that you claim to stand for. But I see those who protect the right to live, I see self sacrifice and I see compassion in the bustling halls of the ER wards and the deafening silence of the ICU.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
I see a pastor from Michigan encouraging his congregation to contract Covid-19. I know that when an entire church goes out looking to become intentionally ill, some of them will meet Jesus sooner rather than later. I see the impending mourning that these families will go through. I see the tired doctors and nurses who will lose their own faith while watching others intentionally suffer to demonstrate theirs.
Matthew 4:7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”
I see people who describe themselves as pro-life actively participating in the deaths of the vulnerable while they offer prayers to undo their own doing. I see believers giving the credit to god for recoveries that came as a result of medical providers’ heroic efforts and emotional turmoil. I see people clutching rosaries as they’re intubated. I hear prayers offered over speaker phones and iPads. I’ve seen the faithful die.
I see my church going friends post pictures of travel, packed churches, and support for ideas about this virus being a hoax, while doctors and nurses stay isolated away from family and friends to protect them and try hard to warn of the reality behind the hospital doors -only to be mocked.
1 John 3:17-18
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
I see a lot of things, but I don’t see Christ. I hear a lot of things, but I don’t hear the voice of the lord. I feel a lot of things but I don’t feel the love of the church. I read a lot of things but none of the things I read are congruent with the written word of god.
Dear church, this was your moment to witness to the world, and you have witnessed. Oh, you have witnessed.
A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.