Our nation just remembered one of our most painful events—the bombing of the World Trade Center on September 11. One of the memories that is most present to me from that day is how so many people showed up at church. Spontaneously, people were moved to come and pray.
Our nation is in the midst of another painful time. The Covid pandemic is creating chaos in our daily lives, causing folks to pass away, and filling our nation with fear. One thing I will remember about this time is that people did not come to church. In fact, prayer was left out of the picture.
I know there are arguments on both sides as to whether churches should have closed down. Science, which is what was continually quoted, said churches were nothing more than “super spreaders.” Politics started dictating what was open and what was closed. Costco was open. Churches were closed. You could go out and buy a new large screen television, but you could not go out to worship.
The religious leaders of our country were left out of all the discussions about what needed to happen to protect our nation. On a local level, school boards, governors, mayors, and elected officials all had input on what to do next. Religious leaders stood on the sidelines and watched.
I believe this can never happen again.
I believe religious leaders need to be included along with other leaders. This is not a mixture of church and state, but rather the recognition that we are a spiritual people. And no matter what we believe, we must acknowledge the need we have for God.
Most churches, like ours, moved to Facebook or some other social media platform. It worked. But some surveys are showing as many as one in five churches closed during this time. Sacrament cannot happen on social media.
Why am I writing this?
We need to ensure every decision we make on a personal level must take into account our faith. And, every decision we make on a communal level must also include the faith of the people of our nations.
The United States is still a believing nation. And, although faith seems to be waning these past few years, we cannot allow it to drop any farther. We must put God in the center of all we do—all we face—and all we fear.