The COVID Bell Tolls for Us All
A very dear friend of mine has “breakthrough COVID.” He is hospitalized with significant neurological symptoms. Please pray. And PLEASE get vaccinated. If you are a Christian and want to follow the Lord’s command to love your neighbor, this is a concrete application right now.
Yes, this is a “breakthrough” case, but that’s because even the best vaccines for any disease aren’t perfect. Missouri’s numbers are startling and headed towards the worst we’d seen of the pandemic thus far. Other places already are setting new records. There are simply too many people spreading COVID right now and too much resistance to basic safety measures that would reduce spread.
The question for the Christian who is not yet vaccinated boils down to the sanctity of life. If you are pro-life, are you willing to be “inconvenienced” by a vaccine for the sake of saving other bearers of the Image of God? There’s a selfish reason to get it too: vaccination does lower your chances of infection, serious illness and death. But it is not about iron clad protection. It is about reducing the likelihood.
Like so many things in life, our decisions affect others. As John Donne reflected,
No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of thine owne were; any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.
People deciding they didn’t have a responsibility to protect others from COVID gave my friend COVID even though he did the right thing and got the vaccine, because even greatly reduced chances of infection aren’t zero. And the amount of risk of “not zero” naturally rises when lots of other people are playing a risky game that exposes you. Here’s a thread on how vaccines can be both helpful and still fail in such a way that the loving answer isn’t just “Well, if you want to protect yourself, fine, get the vaccine — I have no obligation to you to get one, too.”
The Good Samaritan did what he did because it was loving, not convenient. Please get a vaccine and, while viral spread is really high, please follow WHO guidelines and mask up. Is this inconvenient? Yes. Is doing the right thing to love our neighbors inconvenient? Yes.
But, we all should care for whom the bell tolls. Our Lord does.