Dear Church: I can’t see Christ through you.

Dear Church: I can’t see Christ through you.

Dear Church: I can’t see Christ through you.

I’m a nurse working during a global pandemic and here’s what I see.

I see packed auditoriums for festive Christmas programs with almost no masks, and zero social distancing in Missouri. I know what this will mean for my colleagues in the weeks to come. They’ll work feverishly right around Christmas to save the lives of people who attended those events, or family members of people who attended these events. They’ll have to work overtime over the holiday to give the afflicted the best chance of survival. They’ll put themselves in harms way to do that. I see you trading your right to gather for the medical staff’s ability to spend Christmas with their children. I see you relishing your right to fellowship while denying someone else the right to breathe and survive. I don’t see love. I don’t see compassion. I don’t see self sacrifice. I don’t see any of the things that you claim to stand for. But I see those who protect the right to live, I see self sacrifice and I see compassion in the bustling halls of the ER wards and the deafening silence of the ICU.

James 2:14-18
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

I see a pastor from Michigan encouraging his congregation to contract Covid-19. I know that when an entire church goes out looking to become intentionally ill, some of them will meet Jesus sooner rather than later. I see the impending mourning that these families will go through. I see the tired doctors and nurses who will lose their own faith while watching others intentionally suffer to demonstrate theirs.

Matthew 4:7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'”

I see people who describe themselves as pro-life actively participating in the deaths of the vulnerable while they offer prayers to undo their own doing. I see believers giving the credit to god for recoveries that came as a result of medical providers’ heroic efforts and emotional turmoil. I see people clutching rosaries as they’re intubated. I hear prayers offered over speaker phones and iPads. I’ve seen the faithful die.
I see my church going friends post pictures of travel, packed churches, and support for ideas about this virus being a hoax, while doctors and nurses stay isolated away from family and friends to protect them and try hard to warn of the reality behind the hospital doors -only to be mocked.

1 John 3:17-18
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

I see a lot of things, but I don’t see Christ. I hear a lot of things, but I don’t hear the voice of the lord. I feel a lot of things but I don’t feel the love of the church. I read a lot of things but none of the things I read are congruent with the written word of god.

Dear church, this was your moment to witness to the world, and you have witnessed. Oh, you have witnessed.

Proverbs 14:25
A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful.

6 thoughts on “Dear Church: I can’t see Christ through you.

    • Author gravatar

      I completely get where you’re coming from….if you only read the headlines.

      I completely get where you’re coming from…if you choose to believe the wingnut outliers are the mainstream.

      The truth is, there are tens of thousands of churches of all denominations all over the nation and the world who consider it their obligation to protect and serve their community by not worshiping together, but spending their time helping those in need. It is a philosophy of “for the sake of others.” You hear about the wingnuts. I get it. If you’re a healthcare professional, you’re not going to have the people doing it right and acting responsibly in your hospital. So what you see are the non-compliant. Do you begin to see how that gives you a skewed confirmation bias?

      Here’s what my Pastor said in August.

      We won’t be back together in one building until it is safe for everyone. It hasn’t hurt our giving; we’re serving the communities of the poor, the food insecure, and those with other serious needs more than ever. We are making permanent changes so worship and teaching take place in person and online continually *in the future.* But not now.

      There are more of us out there. We’re just too busy getting on with the teachings of Jesus to be featured by news networks. In news, they say “if it bleeds, it leads.” They aren’t interested in our story. So don’t you be confused into thinking that if you don’t hear about it in the news, it isn’t happening in.

      Best wishes to you and your compassionate calling, caring for the physical needs of others.

    • Author gravatar

      I am a Christian and rather sadly I have watched some of the behaviours you write about. I feel ashamed about the conduct I have seen but put it down to people sadly being duped by misinformation and in this period where so many are afraid, they have made choices that they would normally not make.
      The leader of our church put our entire global church into lockdown before anyone else even discussed lockdown in early March. All chapels have been closed and also temples, only recently beginning to reopen where it is safe to do so. I live in Victoria, Australia and we have just emerged from a State-wide total lockdown and have managed to have 40 days of zero cases and zero deaths. Now our State and our Country are slowly emerging from lockdown, regional borers are opening again because of the lack of active cases here. It has been difficult but we have had full support of church leaders and encouraged to do our Christian duty. We have fasted and prayed for those of you in the front lines and my heart aches when I read what this virus is doing around the world. We are constantly warned by our leaders both church and government, not to become complacent but to realise that this is not over yet and that only by making unselfish sacrifices will we avoid another more deadly wave.
      Our chapel will open partially for the first time this coming Sunday but it will be under strict COVID guidelines with people spaced 2 meters apart, masks worn and everyone one attending having their information scanned. We have had a team, led by a member of the local police force, looking into the safest way to reopen.
      Keep up your good work, it is being seen and I apologise for any Christian who is not behaving according to how Jesus would have us behave but is acting out of fear.

    • Author gravatar

      Our family has stayed in with few exceptions since this started. It sometimes seems like we are the only ones still watching church online and I wonder if others think our faith is just weak. I read a post from a pastor a while back that faith and wisdom are not mutually exclusive. I wish more people could see it this way. A dear family we know just lost their young, husband and dad and seem to be going on with get togethers, etc even after Covid took his life. I cannot understand that at all. Prayers for you and all of the wonderful healthcare workers during this devastating time!!

    • Author gravatar

      I am glad for churches like mine that are doing the right thing and close their doors to worship and gatherings but still help those in need in a safe way.

    • Author gravatar

      Thank you. These are words that I’ve been harboring and haven’t known how to express. I appreciate the time and thought you took to write this.

    • Author gravatar

      Dear vaxxed nurse,
      Please know that THIS RN, who is also an ordained Lutheran pastor clearly hears and embraces your angst and critique of far too many so-called churches. My own denomination (ELCA) has a Bishop who strongly encourages love of neighbor expressed by following guidelines to NOT gather. I hope you will know that there are many of us who are “followers of Jesus” who are following health guidelines and who are praying for God’s strong blessing and protection for those of you who are faithfully carrying out your calling in the midst of extraordinarily difficult circumstances. May you be blessed!

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