Have You Been Vaccinated?
by Dale Reeves
As we turned the page on last year just a few weeks ago, I don’t know anyone who was sad to see 2020 go. Everyone I know was looking forward to a new year, a reset, hoping to see a few things return to “normal.” But as the first few weeks quickly set in, we saw lots of reasons for continued disappointment. Social media was flooded with both real and fake news regarding the downsides of the new year—things such as allegations of a stolen presidential election, polar opposite views regarding the political upheaval in our country, the storming of our nation’s Capitol, and the amount of COVID cases in our nation and state.
But one thing we were hearing about was providing hope for a lot of people in our country—the prospect of quickly being able to get access to a COVID-19 vaccination. Depending on how much research you have done regarding these vaccinations, there are several choices to be made: the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. There is an order in regard to who gets the vaccination first, how many will be available at certain locations, and when they will be available. The two companies both claim that their vaccines are 95% effective in preventing a person from getting COVID-19.
This past Sunday morning it seemed as though there were a few more people in the physical seats in our church building due to an optimism based on people now hoping for access to the vaccine in the not-too-distant future. My in-laws recently stood in line outside for several hours on a cold morning in Columbia, Tennessee, so that they could be among the first in their county to receive the Moderna vaccine. They will return in a few weeks to get their booster shots.
Full of Hope or Hopeless?
As we were discussing the vaccine in our church staff’s Monday morning meeting, the lightbulb went off in the head of our global integration pastor, Joey Santos. He said, “We vaccinate in the Spirit, every week!” Our goal every Sunday in our worship experiences is to give people a “shot of hope” that goes directly to their hearts and souls. We want to be hope dealers, not hope stealers.
There are plenty of things going on in our country and world every week that will steal your hope on a regular basis—if you choose to let them. For instance:
You can allow the news of the day in all media channels to depress and disappoint you, and show you how divided our country is . . . if you let it!
You can allow the decisions of your president, your senators, governor, congressmen, and local leaders to bring constant disappointment to you . . . if you let it!
You can allow the news of those in your personal world struggling with health concerns to be a constant source of worry and anxiety . . . if you let it!
You can allow the current news of whatever is going on in your school district that you don’t like to be a constant source of gossip and disappointment . . . if you let it!
You can continue to obsess on the barrage of negative, critical thinking that is present on social media every day, and be impacted for the worse . . . if you let it!
News flash: 2021 will be another year of great disappointment for you—regardless of your political persuasion, your school athletic loyalties, or your personal family, work, and economic status—if you choose to let it be so.
Disappointed in the News or Delighting in God’s Truth?
Unless you are an Alabama Crimson Tide fan, this past Monday night ended the college football season in a little disappointment for you because your team did not end up being #1 in the country. Your team may have had a decent season, and got to play in a Bowl Game, but honestly there’s only one team every year who comes out on top. In the words of Ricky Bobby, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”
We have an enemy who will do whatever he needs to do this year to make sure that tangible reasons for your disappointment, disillusionment, and depression are being thrown at you on a regular basis. There is really only one solution to countering his offensive strategy, and it is a vaccination! Our campus pastor, Brad Wilson, asked the church staff this past Monday: “What would happen to God’s people this year if they spent more time reading the Bible and less time reading the national news and wasting time on social media?”
Check out this powerful graphic:
The average American could complete a reading of the entire Bible every month if they replaced social media or video intake with Scripture reading! That’s amazing! But, to do that, many of us would need an overhaul in our daily habits, and a change in our daily focus.
Obsessed with Imperfect Humans or a Perfect Lord?
I love the picture I recently saw posted that shows the lion (Jesus) being greater than the symbols of the Republican and Democratic parties (an elephant and a donkey). If your hope for this year rests in the policies of our country’s leaders, regardless of where you stand on the issues, regardless of your views of a particular federal or local leader, you will experience highs and lows all year. These imperfect human beings will continue to disappoint. There is only one God who is sovereign over all, who reigns supreme, and will never disappoint, and his Son is the lion of the tribe of Judah. He is preeminent over everything else and the way we spend our time should reflect our adoration for him above all else.
The apostle Paul said it this way: “For in him [Christ] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy” (Colossians 1:16-18, NIV).
The apostle John penned it this way: “See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed” (Revelation 5:5, NIV).
Jesus himself said it this way: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, NIV).
Jesus promised it. We will have trouble! Count on it. But he is the vaccine.
So what about it? Need a shot in the arm? Hope to see you worshiping with God’s people this weekend, and spending time in God’s Word this week. It really is a game changer, and it is the shot that is better than the coronavirus vaccine, a double shot of caffeine, or a shot of tequila.