Let love be the guiding principle

Published 6:30 pm Friday, September 17, 2021

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By Scott Baker

In a recent conversation I had with a friend who works in health care I was appalled at the horror stories she’s lived through on a daily basis. The overwhelming exhaustion and frustration that came through in her voice were palpable. To add insult to injury, there doesn’t appear to be any relief in sight. She was quick to add that every single person on a ventilator and/or in critical care all shared one thing in common—they were all unvaccinated.

After our conversation I couldn’t help but to employ the old question; What would Jesus do? Would Jesus get vaccinated? Sure, that’s a hypothetical question, on par with wondering if Jesus would be a vegan. (Considering the impact of livestock on the environment and the climate I could make a pretty strong case for a resounding “yes” to that question.) But for Christians who follow Jesus, asking what would Jesus do, is a question that is uttered thousands of times a day.

In the face of the new delta strain of the COVID-19 virus, and the costs in lives, health and (like my friend) health care workers, I think it is safe to say that “yes” Jesus would get vaccinated. He talked about his followers having life, and having it abundantly. That sentiment alone, is a good metaphor for life before the vaccine and life after the vaccine. He taught that the guiding principle of Christian lives should be the law of love. And who could forget the golden rule? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. At the end of the day, what Jesus taught had very little, if anything, to do with “rights” and everything to do with “obligations.” Being obliged toward the other means to put the others needs, wants, desires and well-being, before one’s own and, in fact, should be the focus of each follower of Jesus.

As the autumn unfolds, and schools begin along with a more “normal” routine, vaccinations are more important now, than perhaps ever. One doesn’t have to be a follower of Jesus to let love be the guiding principle of one’s life. Perhaps if we let our concern for each other guide us rather than political views, or irrational and misinformed entrenched points of view we all would be served better. Plus, we could more quickly resume that “normal routine” we so long for.

We don’t have to ask, “What would Jesus do?” in order to do that right thing. I’m praying that if we all can embrace the vaccine then my friend can finally bring to a close the nightmare she lives on a daily basis. Not just her, but the thousands of health care workers who go to work every day and put their lives on the line to bring health and healing to others. We don’t have to look to Jesus for a good example, we could simply look at them and give thanks to God almighty for their selfless lives. Talk about love in action!

Father Scott Baker is the pastor of Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Contact him at 757-562-4542.