After a month of preaching to a little blue dot on a camera in the back of an empty sanctuary, a light bulb went off.

My idea was to devote time during Sunday worship to learn from leaders who were trapped “inside the box.”

Throughout history, the world has been changed by people who have been in captivity.

This past week, it was Martin Luther King, Jr who we put in the spotlight. Dr. King was arrested for the nonviolent protest of the ordinances that essentially allowed segregation to continue, despite the Supreme Court determining segregation was illegal.

Dr. King, in his Letter from Birmingham jail, wrote “One may well ask: ‘How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?’ The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws.”

In our increasingly polarizing society, I find it odd that this pandemic has forced us back into our bunkers of drawing firm lines on just and unjust laws.

I was horrified to see the Great Wall of China full of people last month… and then to see history repeat itself with packed bars in Wisconsin within an hour of the state Supreme Court striking down the governor’s stay at home orders.

As a parent of a child on a ventilator, exposure to Covid-19 jeopardizes his life. When my neighbor blatantly disregards “just” laws out of a violation of their rights, I am confused by what rights of theirs are being violated.

I do not feel that it’s “unjust” to expect me to wear a mask in public places. My liberties are not being violated to keep group sizes small for the time being—even though, as the pastor of large congregation, this isn’t ideal or what any of us want to do.

I hear expressions like “is the cure worse than the disease,” the point being that we are the United States and were formed on the premise of liberty and freedom.

But what about the freedom of others? What about the safety and security of our neighbors?

I know the economic challenges are immense. I’m grateful that more of my neighbors will soon return to work as new parameters and precautions are put in place at local businesses, salons, and restaurants to accommodate the CDC guidelines.

I’m immensely grateful for the helpers who have stepped in and provided relief to those most impacted. I have seen so much goodness in this pandemic.

But we are not out of the woods. Please continue to take precautions on behalf of your neighbor.

We have a moral responsibility to each other to do so.

Pastor John Klawiter is the senior pastor of Faith Lutheran Church in Forest Lake.

Load comments