One of my observations over the past months is that how we respond to the rules and regulations regarding Covid 19 indicates a lot about how much of a risk taker people are, or perhaps how risk averse they are. There is a sliding scale of compliance with the regulations from those who pushing, if not breaking, the boundaries to those who go way beyond them, often for health reasons.
How do we as Christians respond to these rules and regulations? Is it OK to bend or break the rules or should we be careful to obey them?
As a Christian leader I believe that we have a biblical mandate to obey the laws of our land as long as how laws do not contravene core principles of our faith. In the case of Covid 19 I believe the Christians should adhere to the rules and be seen to do so.
It is with deep concern that I have seen Christian leaders and churches openly and brazenly break the rules. Some met during lockdown when all church buildings were legally closed whilst Others have had congregational singing. Whilst I long to be able to sing in our services I won’t do so for two reasons. Firstly it is against the regulations and secondly it puts our congregations at a high risk of passing on the virus.
But what about us individually. We are in Tier 2 and the regulations state:
You must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’.
How are you at keeping these regulations? Has anyone who is not part of your household been inside your home in the past weeks?
By it’s very nature a church services is a social setting. We are the community of followers of Jesus. And yet we are not to socialise when we gather. I know it’s hard, and I know it goes against our instincts. But socialising brings with it a greater risk of passing on the virus and we wouldn’t want to be the one to do that, would we? So don’t sit with someone who isn’t in your household or support bubble. And when you leave, and I know this is really hard, but keep distanced and follow the rue of six.
Oh – and a thought about support bubbles. These aren’t open and flexible for us to be in more than one and move from one to the next as we want to. They are fixed, and for good reason.
And then we come to Christmas. The regulations will be changing to allow us to meet in groups, or Christmas bubbles, of up to three households. But that bubble is also fixed and you can’t meet one set of family on Christmas Day and a different set of family on Boxing Day etc. It does however mean if you have formed a ‘Christmas bubble’ when you join us in our building on Christmas Day you can sit with that bubble.
Because you can doesn’t mean you have to. So the permission is there for wider gatherings, but please think very carefully before you do. Personally we could have had both our children and their families round for lunch on Christmas Day, but we won’t. Instead we will meet outside in some way. It will be difficult and it will hurt, but as an asthmatic I’m aware how careful I need to be, and the end is in sight now.
Please, please, please do your utmost to obey the regulations. I am incredibly fortunate that I haven’t yet been asked to take the funeral of someone I know who had died of Covid and I really don’t want that day to come. I may be verging on the very risk averse side but I’d rather be there and safe.