Faith Reflections

A Pastor’s Plea for Vaccination

“Our forecasting model shows we should expect to continue seeing increased admissions over the next six to eight weeks,” Royston said. “We receive calls daily from other cities, (including the Springfield area) and other states looking to transfer patients due to capacity issues. We have been unable to accept any of these transfers due to our hospital already being at capacity.”

Jessica Royston,  Regional Manager of Marketing and Communications, SSM Health, Jefferson City, Mo

I am deeply grateful for the vaccine made free to everyone. I, my family, dear friends, and many church members have completed their vaccination process without issue, and this gives me great comfort. I love them, and while life is not certain, we do our best to live wisely and safely – not just for our own good, but out of compassion and kindness to those who would be hurt by our loss or by our choices.

If you choose not to be vaccinated, I have not and will not call you names. You are right – it is your choice, and I know for some of you it is not an easy one nor one you take lightly. You feel attacked and shamed. I get it. There is plenty of that to go around these days on multiple issues.

My Plea

I will, because of my great love for you and others, ask you to consider the trustworthy healthcare professionals who are urging people to get vaccinated, especially in light of the highly contagious Delta variant. A week doesn’t go by in my life without news of someone who has either lost someone to COVID, is suffering from long-term ailments due to COVID, or is deeply burdened about someone they love who is not vaccinated. It is clear from research and testimony that a full vaccination could alleviate nearly all of these heartaches.

As a pastor, my burden is both pastoral and prophetic. I love you, and I want you to be well. But that is honestly not the most important thing to consider for those of us who are followers of Jesus. We are called to be people of love, and this vaccination is a way of loving our neighbors, especially those who are weak and vulnerable, especially our children who are unable to be vaccinated yet and those who are unable to get vaccinated due to health issues.

My Hope

I don’t have all the answers – on lots of things! I’ve chosen to listen to those who are knowledgeable, balanced, well-researched, and in the trenches, those who have dedicated their lives and gifts to a ministry of healing. They have, without hesitation, pleaded for us to get vaccinated. I love you no matter your choice. I will still greet you and talk with you (albeit with some distance and a mask for your safety). I will pray for you, and will be there for you if I am able and allowed.

And, my friend, I will not give up hope that you will reconsider and will choose to vaccinate. We still have time to change the forecasted model of more death and heartache for our city, nation, and world. But it will take all of us working together.

If you would like to get vaccinated, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/ to find local vaccination opportunities.

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