September 16, 2020
Like many of you, I needed to get tested for Covid. I'd heard that they try to perform a lobotomy without anesthesia, so I wasn't particularly excited about that, nor about the prospect of waiting in line for an hour or so. But I needed to get it done, so yesterday, I did. The paperwork was simple, then I got in my car and got into a very short line. A few minutes later a moon-lighting roto-rooter employee (not really) or spelunking wannabe stuck a specimen retriever into the recesses of my sinus cavity and then said, "Are you ok?" I assured her I was, although for the next two hours, it felt like a wind tunnel in my left nostril every time I inhaled. It was only later that I read that the FDA gave an initial go-ahead to SalivaDirect, a Yale University-created rapid testing process for Covid that uses spit instead of swabs that try to scrape brain matter. Spit? I could do that. But that was not the option I was given.
A positive result would have surprised me. I had no symptoms and no indication of being infected, so I didn't think too much about that happening. At the same time, it was reassuring to be told that I had tested negative. I headed back to my office.
Now what? Am I free to throw my face mask out the window? Do I walk around holding up my negative result as if I am validated by it and therefore should be followed as a model citizen? Of course not. I am grateful not to have this virus, but mindful that it remains as a clear and present danger.
I thought of this in relationship to the gospel and in relationship to being a member of this church. When I trusted in Christ alone as the One who died in order to pay for my sins, I was immediately forgiven of all of my sins and declared righteous. I am in Christ. I am in Him, and He is in me. If I flaunted that as a reason to throw all concern of sin out the window, or acted as if I was now the epitome of human existence, then I would clearly not understand what the gospel is really about. In the words of our church covenant, "there is upon us now a new and holy calling." Yes, being in Christ is a glorious reality, but that brings with it a responsibility. How do I steward this life that has been forgiven? How do I live as one who has been redeemed by Christ? How does the result of the cross show itself in my attitude? It shows itself in humility, love, and joy.
Humility, love, and joy appear to be in short supply right now. Perhaps it is because Covid and culture are looming in our minds larger than the cross. Covid will not last, but the cross does.
Grace and peace, Bob