Only a few short months ago the world seemed to stop. Day by day, as more measures were taken by various governments, the list of activities you could enjoy and areas that you could go to shrunk. Health officials guided by the best guess of their medical officers and lead scientists echoed the accepted best practice – keep your distance, avoid close contact and large gatherings. The dreaded phrase ‘lock-down’ suddenly entered common use globally, including our places of worship – our humble and revered churches were now ‘locked-down’.
In some ways, this could be viewed as a massive truly world wide, anti-religious, anti-church, anti-worship action – in the name of science. Most would agree it was, and is, for our benefit. Although the scope and length lock down and other measures are hotly contested, it was near universal. Where ever you were, Northern hemisphere, Southern hemisphere, Island, or Continent, the lock-downs were every where.
Today the lock-downs are relaxing, restrictions easing and, for this, we are thankful. We are thankful to science, thankful to many people working hard to keep us safe and hasten the recovery and return to ‘normal’.
Many would also be thanking God.
In the last few weeks churches have started to open again here, with various limits and precautions that should ease with time. Science is saying the risk has reduced. So based on science, the restrictions are easing.
Science also actually says that you should go to church, at least if you want to improve your health. Some might be surprised, but many studies have proven that attending church regularly improves your physical and mental health.
The improvement is not tiny. The improvement is significant.
Professor VanderWeele’s of Harvard study shows a reduction in mortality by 20-30% over a 15 year period.
What is prescription for this massive improvement in mortality?
The prescription for better health is simple – Go to Church weekly.
(Your priest would probably also say that it improves your spirit and soul – but I digress.)
Matthew 18:20 – For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
The studies outline some possible reasons for this – including the regular social contact and those who attend were more optimistic with lower levels rates of depression. Other studies report that church goers have a greater purpose and more self control.
One other possibility is that perhaps, if you believe, just maybe, God wants us to go to Church.
I was able to attend Church again this week, after many months away due to the lock-downs. It was not my normal church and there were some differences. I did not know anyone in this church – but I was welcome. I was very glad to be there, and later felt better and a special peace.
Was this because I could once again gather with others socially in church? Maybe.
Was this because I was returning to a routine I had missed. Maybe.
Maybe it was just the right thing and what God wanted. I believe so.
I feel better already and look forward to the mass next week already.
Whatever you may believe, it might be good for you too.
So why not find a church you can attend now? You might need to look a little further than normal, the safety precautions might mean you have to book on line, seats will surely be spaced out, and you might need to wear masks and more. You will enjoy it. It will be good for you.
Science says so.