The 20th Sunday after Pentecost

Last week our grandson who turns 4 in a few days had a big smile on his face, in the photo,
pointing to his green band aid on his arm. He got more ‘superpowers’ and he didn’t cry at all!
Yes, he had another round of the childhood vaccinations we’ve all, no doubt, had. (They have
been called ‘superpowers’ in our family.) I sent him a message that I was getting some too
(today) and I would try and send him a photo (and not cry!).
The issue of vaccinations has certainly become a
lightning rod for dispute and fear among us the vast
majority of whom have all had childhood vaccinations.
I remember about ten years ago discovering that an
Australian colleague of mine had polio as a child and
what he went through for years to be rehabilitated and
feeling very thankful that I had been vaccinated in
primary school against polio. (I didn’t mind the little

pink syrup in the spoon either!) Vaccines are for pub-
lic health and whatever other meanings are overlayed

on them, they are a means by which we keep each
other safe from infectious diseases.
I know the series ‘The Walking Dead’ is often used these days as an analogy of some sort of
dystopian situation – and I’ve not seen the show – but I did daydream recently two ‘What if?’
scenarios. What might happen if only the anti-vaxxers increasingly caught C-19 and became
seriously debilitated or died? Would the vaccinated gloat and talk about the Darwin Awards?
The other scenario was the reverse – that those without vaccinations survived a cataclysmic
event? How long would they say, ‘We told you so?!’. What might Planet Earth look like in
either scenario in 5 years? I had no idea but my imagination painted a grim, violent, fearful,
and dying world.
Would that also be a time when the Church flourished? After all, the followers of Jesus have
been saying for nearly 2,000 years now that death is not the final enemy for those in Christ
for we died in Baptism and rose again with Christ to live and that life is marked by service.
Living is not what’s in it for me, nor is it about my freedom or my rights but about how I follow
Jesus in my time and place.
It is true that given a choice – and it is a blessing – that we are living in a liberal democratic
society – but Christians can live in any society, under any economic system, in any weather,
and in any circumstance. (I often wondered as a teenager why my father – born in 1920 –
had to go through the experience of a world war while his son didn’t.) The followers of Jesus
can find themselves in all sorts of times and places and the goal is following Jesus in that
time and place – wanting what is best for others – and with our knowledge of medicine and
science – indeed plumbing and hygiene – the followers of Jesus will want to live well in public
and for the public – and do what we can to make anything better with better justice, peace,

and the well-being of everyone as our goal. What people decide about such things as vac-
cinations is up to them but the followers of Jesus will consider in their decision making ‘how

do I serve my neighbour in this time and place?’.
That is the perspective we keep in mind as we follow Jesus.