Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law. -Romans 13:8-10
On Thursday, Pastor Nate and I dropped our two kids off at school for the first full day of school since March 2020. In the crowd of 300 plus kids and parents, everyone was wearing masks, hugging their kids, standing close but not too close. I was overwhelmed by what I saw…the same sort of overwhelming gratitude that I have felt for this congregation since this pandemic began; the overwhelming feeling was that of extreme love. How phenomenal that all those parents and students were showing their love for everyone by wearing masks (and wearing them well). The same with all of you, PoP. You all have been incredibly respectful of one another’s boundaries and needs in this pandemic. And in these days, as we are facing another mask mandate, I have been part of and witnessed a whole other level of love for one another—that is the willingness to talk about one’s comfort level with outdoor masking. I hear you all communicating your need to stay apart and masked. I see you all finding creative and safe ways to show your love when greeting or passing the peace. And, I see us all making efforts to continue to care for our littlest of kids and their parents who are constantly worried about their kids’ well-being.
As the reading from Romans says, “owe no one anything except to love one another.” In these days, love is wearing a mask even if it’s a bit tiresome. Love is being willing to say “no thank you” to a hug and trusting that it will not damage a relationship. Love is looking at the most vulnerable in our midst and making the decisions based on their needs rather than the supposed freedom of the strong. Again, I am so overwhelmingly grateful to serve in a community like PoP. And as we navigate the new Santa Clara county rules, I wanted to communicate with our community the laws that we are acting under and abiding by. We share them in order to continue to be fully communicative but also to give us all reference points when we are gathering and seeing other groups on our site. The law referenced in the Romans passage is the 10 commandments, and is summed up as “love your neighbor as yourself.” The law we are abiding by from the local government is also meant to help us love our neighbor.
PoP is committed to providing safe and lawful gatherings indoors. Due to the new Santa Clara County restrictions and the need for cautious interactions, we will have the following policies until restrictions and local laws say it is safe to gather otherwise: