Back in August I reported on a dissident Episcopal congregation — of which I am a member — that has been meeting for unofficial Eucharist services at a private home. Even after Governor Ralph “Coonman” Northam partially relaxed his rules on religious gatherings, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia, in her infinite wisdom, issued a diocesan bull from her offices (which Dymphna used to refer to as the “Winter Palace”) that forbade churches under her purview to take normal communion, sing, use prayer books, drink coffee, or shake hands, for fear that congregants might succumb to the Wuhan Coronavirus and meet an untimely end.
These conditions were unacceptable to more than half the congregation. Our priest resigned, and we dissidents reconvened in the living room of one of our parishioners who has a baby grand piano, which our organist fortunately knows how to play.
We have been meeting there for more than four months, celebrating a full Eucharist, passing the Peace with handshakes and hugs, singing, and gathering afterwards in the adjacent dining room for lunch. Nobody wears a mask, and nobody is afraid. Those precious Sundays are a refreshing change from the COVID madness that seems to have taken over everywhere else.
What struck me during the conflict over these issues is the dichotomy that has developed between those who are afraid, and those who are not. The group that ratted us out to the bishop and forced the closure of the church — a minority — is afraid. They are deeply afraid. They are so afraid that staying home from church and avoiding any possibility of contamination was not enough for them; they had to make sure that the entire congregation endured the same regimen.
The group that meets for Eucharist in a private home is not afraid. We recognize that COVID-19 exists, and that some of us are at risk if we catch it. But we’re still not afraid. For whatever reason, the Coronamadness has not infected us.
Those people who live in fear seem to have forgotten these lines from the Suffrages that we recite during Morning and Evening Prayer:
V. Give peace, O Lord, in all the world;
R. For only in you can we live in safety.
They apparently believe that safety lies in masks, hand sanitizers, vaccines, Dr. Fauci, etc., rather than the Lord.
As a matter of interest, the great divide between those who are afraid and those who are not coincides exactly with the political faultlines within our little church. Those who are afraid are all liberals, and voted for Joe Biden. Those who are not afraid voted for Donald Trump, with the possible exception of one person who is basically apolitical.
A couple of months ago I saw a news story about the results of poll — I wish I had saved the URL — that showed the amazing correlation between personal responses to the “pandemic” and political affiliation. On every specific behavior — wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, etc. — those who chose to act religiously against the dread COVID were overwhelmingly likely to be liberals and Democrats, while those who didn’t worry so much about it were likely to be conservatives and/or Republicans. The breakdown was astonishing — 60% to 75% vs. 25% to 40%. I’ve never seen such a clear bellwether of the cultural divide.
The divide within our little church mirrors the Great Divide in American society. Regardless of who is inaugurated on January 20, the divide will remain. And it can only widen further — if Biden is inaugurated, more than 50% of the country will know that the election was rigged, and in the future voting will have no meaning. If Trump somehow pulls it off in the Supreme Court, the Deep State and the Democrats will go bananas. The full wrath of BLM/Antifa will be unleashed to burn and loot in our major cities.
Either way, it’s going to get a lot uglier, and fast. As they like to say at Western Rifle Shooters: “Spicy Time is coming.”