Yesterday the Wisconsin Supreme Court made a ruling about the authority of a nonelected government official. Because of their ruling the existing Safer at Home order was no longer enforcable. That discussion is about laws and good order – it is not the discussion on this page.
The Badger Bounce Back plan remains Wisconsin’s guide for encorporating our lives into the COVID-19 world. It provides a step by step process of reopening in light of progress made in fighting the disease. It is based on the federal plan. This proccess is supported by myself as the Bishop of the La Crosse Area Synod as well as the five other Wisconsin synod bishops who serve the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. And it is supported by the Wisconsin Council of Churches.
I am thankful the BBB enables us as Christians to live out our calling to love God and to love our neighbors.
For now, we keep our buildings closed to corporate worship. Unfortunately Lutheran services are filled with ways to spread a pandemic. Viruses are shared in warm hand shakes and hugs as we greet and pass the peace. The virus count increases as we spend extended time together in an enclosed space, singing loudly, and sharing bread and wine. For now, we won’t gather. We don’t know who caries the virus. We don’t know who is most at risk to exposure. We wait.
Fortunately, we know that Lutherans can worship anywhere. We open our Bibles at home, pray as we drift off to sleep at night, worship together online as our pastors become gifted televangelists.
Of course, we still collect offerings. Christians have a need to give. It is marvelous that many mail checks to church and engage in online giving. It is marvelous that we contribute to local groups serving those in special need. And it is inspiring to see God’s people offering themselves to distribute food, coordinate blood drives, make phone connections with those who live alone, and more and more and more – loving Jesus by loving our neighbors.
Now, as more and more people return to work, it is inspiring to see faithful people serve Jesus by protecting those around them. Masks are worn. Personal distancing is maintained. And in so doing, the neighbor is loved.
We miss worshipping together. But we stay the course. It’s how we serve. It’s how we care. It’s for our God and for our neighbor.