Julie’s Jar: What Do We Owe Each Other?

The wedding was held in Maine: A destination wedding at a lodge with cabins. More than 65 people gathered to celebrate the nuptials, even though the limit in the state of Maine is currently 50 maximum for public gatherings. The owner of the facility insisted they followed required protocols.

Contract tracing revealed later that as of Sept. 15, 175 people were infected due to the gathering. Seven people died and those seven were not even at the wedding. Viruses are invisible, but just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t travel distances. None of the people at the wedding intended to participate in a “spreading event,” but they did. None of them intended to cause harm to people, let alone people who didn’t even attend the event, but they did. Unintended consequences are still consequences and they were paid for dearly by at least seven people.

It puzzles me how hard it is for us to deal with this abstract virus we call COVID for shorthand. I even find myself getting lax, partly from fatigue of it all and partly because I just plain forget. However, when I think about visiting my mother-in-law, for instance, it becomes very concrete. What am I doing that might put her at risk if I travel to see her?

My question to all of us is, how do we make this kind of concern concrete for people we will never meet, like those seven people who lost their lives due to a lack of concern on the part of others. It’s easier to be love our neighbor close at hand, the one whose immediate need moves us to caring action. It takes greater spiritual maturity to love the neighbor we will never meet, but who can be impacted by what we do and don’t do.

Wendell Berry wrote, “Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.” It’s a concrete twist on the Golden Rule. Love your neighbor as yourself is our golden rule as Christians. During a pandemic, let that rule guide your actions of care that we may together protect each other and the neighbors we will never meet.

Check out the story mentioned above here.

Post a comment

Print your tickets