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The golden rule: A new spin

By Scott Baker

As our country opens up post-quarantine, we are having to adjust to a whole new way of being together. And although we aren’t back to where we were before COVID-19, we are slowly beginning to return to some semblance of normalcy. In fact, I think it is safe to say that it will be some months, even years before we return to what life was like prior to the pandemic.

Recently, I heard an interview with an epidemiologist who quipped that he thought we should eschew the term social distancing, and opt instead for physical distancing. His reasoning being, that we need each other now more than ever. Additionally, he opined, he thought we should have an epidemic of kindness break out and infect the whole population. It dawned on me that we have a brand-new opportunity to observe and exercise the golden rule: Do to others, as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31).” As we begin to understand how pervasive and insidious this virus is, we are beginning to understand just how incredible our actions can have an impact on other’s lives and their health.

As we begin to come out of our homes and enter into a more social existence, wearing a mask and washing our hands, isn’t just for our own protection but also for our fellow citizens. It isn’t about a political ideology, but rather, about kindness one to another. Observing physical distancing doesn’t mean we have to be emotionally or even socially distant. We wear our face masks (as uncomfortable as they may be) not for ourselves alone but for each other. Consideration for each other and their well-being is the least we should expect out of ourselves, not the most.

At the time of this writing, the virus seems to be surging in almost half of the country. Now, perhaps more than ever, we need to embrace the golden rule and wear our face masks, observe physical distancing, and monitor our own health, not just for ourselves but for each other.

The most recent statistics show that a mere 5 percent of our population has contracted COVID-19. If we can be thrown into the turmoil that we have undergone in the last three months over 5 percent, how much more chaos lies ahead when we reach 10 or 20 or more? I think we can save us all much undue stress if we follow what the experts and epidemiologists tell us to, and do all in our power to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We do this not just for ourselves, but for each other, for the country and for the health of the world.

Virginia is just a couple of weeks into Phase II of the reopening. We are just beginning to live life post-quarantine. It is a wonderful opportunity for us to take and employ an axiom almost every single faith on the planet shares in common and, do to others as we would have them do to us.

THE REV. SCOTT BAKER is the rector at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Franklin. Contact him at 562-4542.