One year ago this week, I had the terrible realization that not only had the coronavirus arrived in the US and into New York, but it had arrived at St. Barnabas, and I was the host. This most unwelcome of guests arrived on the heels of a large charitable event held at the church, and it had decided to pick me for prolonged food and shelter. The saving grace was that I didn’t become the locus of a super spreader event at the communion rail; we were all spared that nightmare and, as one parishioner put it perfectly well, his rector had “taken one for the team.”
Since those early days, so many of us have, albeit inadvertently, taken one for the team; and all of us have intentionally sacrificed for the good of the whole. Sacrificing for the good of the whole is shorthand for, “not adding to the suffering and loss of others by refraining from doing harm.” While this might be considered the most basic requirement of the Christian Life, we are encouraged to take it one step further by giving expression to Jesus’ famous saying: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12).
One year on from the beginning of the pandemic, we are in a more hopeful place. The tenets of the golden rule are finding fresh expression in the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine. Taking one for the team now means something wholly positive: getting in line to become the host of the vaccine, which along with a growing number of our parishioners, I have now done for the good of the whole.
In another positive development, Bishop Dietsche has lifted restrictions on in-person church gatherings which augurs well for the resumption of some sense of normality in the near future. With this goal in mind, the Vestry will soon be releasing recommendations that reflect our collective desire to keep everyone safe as we gather once more at the table where Christ is host.
Onward in Hope,
Gareth Evans serves as the rector of St. Barnabas. He is an inspirational leader who brings significant pastoral experience, a depth of reverence in worship, and a relatable preaching style.