If Nazarene's are to be like our namesake (Mt. 2:23) then we would do well to base our COVID protocols on two factors:
1). What is most honoring to God
2). What is most loving to our neighbors
In focusing our actions based on these, we will go a long way in living out the Greatest Commandment given to us by Christ (see Mt 22, Mk 12, and Lk 10).
Since we believe that God can be at work in all places and in all people we should not dismiss the work of the scientific or medical community, even if it is not coming from an overtly Christian perspective. All wisdom is grounded in God as He is the source of all good in this world. Thus, to honor God, means we should take seriously the research and recommendations given to us. Of course, we understand all research is not equal and as humans we are prone to mistakes (unintentional and intentional). This is why we appreciate the work done by the church leaders at Christians and the Vaccine. Here you'll find a variety of church leaders talking candidly about the Covid vaccine and why it may be honoring to God to get it. We at the Upstate District have no desire to mandate a path for you. But we do ask that you consider carefully what it means to honor God in the midst of the pandemic.
Though we each have the right to believe what we want and to lawfully live our lives the way we see fit, it seems to us that the Christian ought not stay here. If we are to be like Christ (His ambassadors; see 2 Co 5:20) then we have to be motivated to go beyond this focus on self to the love of others. We all wanted this to be over by now. But as we see the resurgence of cases and the rise in deaths, we need to take precautions that primarily are motivated by our desire to show God's love to others. This is a remarkable time for the Church to be a witness for the goodness of God in the midst of tragic circumstances. If we stay in the mindset of "my rights" and not in the mindset of love for the other, then we may be running the risk of offering the world a distorted message about God.
Therefore we recommend these as ways to honor God and to show love to one another:
To socially distance in our church services
To limit possibilities of transmission through physical contact (passing offering plates, communion plates, etc)
The use of masks in public worship especially in cases where social distancing is not possible
Non vaccinated persons should wear masks at church at all times
Get vaccinated if possible
Be especially mindful that the Delta variant is far more contagious and potent in young people
In short, let's show the love of God to our neighbors by being cautious and as grace-filled as possible.
Jesus and Covid
These are challenging times so let's be reminded whose we are and the pattern set for us.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.... Out of his fullness we have all received grace..." John 1:1,14 &16