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Across the Pastor’s Desk: Always practice the Golden Rule

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Henry Doyle

Since the positivity rate for COVID in Freeborn County has recently been above 5%, we at Christ Episcopal Church may have no in-person worship in the interior of our sacred space. The county rate determines whether an Episcopal church in Minnesota may gather for Mass inside its church. The bishop has given permission to parishes and missions to have outdoor masses if everyone in attendance wears a mask, practices physical distance and adheres to the guidelines that promote the health and safety of all who gather for worship.

Henry Doyle

Virtual worship at Christ Church in Albert Lea! I certainly have no fondness for this form of worship, even though I give it my all. Thanks to the Holy Spirit for empowering me to preside!  After Mass, I distribute the blessed Sacrament to those who come to drive-in communion. Having a very brief glimpse of parishioners delights me.

Regretfully, the pandemic still impacts our lives to a great extent worldwide. Surges in the number of cases of COVID have happened in Michigan and Oregon; variants from the United Kingdom, Brazil and India have stricken people in our own country. As reported on the front page of The New York Times, Sunday, May 2: “The pandemic reaches a new global peak. New reported coronavirus cases worldwide exceeded 800,000 per day on average, a record for more than a week. Outbreaks in India, South America and eastern Europe are particularly troublesome.”

I thank God I am amongst Minnesotans who have been fully vaccinated. (It is still possible for us to test positive for COVID. Two fully vaccinated adults in their early forties tested positive.)  More of us need to be of good courage and take the vaccine. Vaccination rates have slumped even though plenty of vaccine is available throughout the state. Quite a few of us, for some reason, refuse to schedule the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. Let us make and keep the appointment now. Remember the sooner we reach herd immunity the sooner we will safely gather with one another. Being in communal relationship is indeed meant for us.

We the people are in this together. Constantly and willingly, we are to practice the Golden Rule. As someone wrote long ago, “What we do for others is far more important than what we do for ourselves.” Wearing a double mask, daily screening and routine COVID testing every other Friday morning have become standard practices for me out of respect, care and love for you fellow companions on this earthly journey. I will rejoice when it appears safe for us to interact without the masks.  By the way, I have a baker’s dozen of white masks which read “Spread love, not germs.”

Let us pray:

Sustain us, O God, in your compassion. This pandemic — COVID 19 — touches everyone. 

Let our prayers never cease. Pour into our being the charity to care for one another — to listen, speak comforting words, see to the needs of others.  Amen.

The Rev. Henry L. Doyle is the priest-in-charge at Christ Episcopal Church in Albert Lea.