Thoughts from the Pastor

Love one Another, Wear a Mask

     When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, I do not think anyone really understood how much of an impact this virus would have upon our way of life. Considering that this is a novel (new) Coronavirus it is not all that surprising that we had no idea what was in store.  The medical and scientific community is still learning about this virus and as a result recommendations and best practices have evolved over the past few months.

     I remember vividly when this entire pandemic began that the medical wisdom was “wash your hands.”  This was easy for us to accept because quite frankly, it was something we hoped people were already doing!  But as the medical/scientific community learned that the virus spreads most effectively through the air we breathe, we were then asked to wear a mask in public places.  In a surprising twist, to me at least, this new recommendation from the medical community was met with skepticism and even anger.

   No, wearing a mask is not 100% effective, but neither are any of the safety precautions we have in place as a society; seat belts, air bags, brakes, bike helmets, and the list goes on. Why is it then that wearing a mask has been met with such skepticism by some?  I will not claim to know the answer and to be honest I am not sure there is one simple answer.  It is likely a complex mixture of reasons ranging from political to simple masculine ego.

   I know for some they are uncomfortable anytime the government “mandates” something and so perhaps that has left a negative impression on mask wearing.  However, I would argue that if we as citizens were better at wearing masks and following medical guidelines in the first place, we perhaps would not need a governmental mandate. Still, as with all things, I have been considering this question from a faith perspective.  I am aware mask wearing has become politicized but let us pause and ask what guidance our faith might have for the community.

   One could argue that we are called to put our trust in God and so wearing a mask is a sign of faithlessness.  However, this theological approach seems to run counter to the command to “do not put the Lord your God to the test.”  So, what if instead of viewing a mask as something political, as an attempt to control us, as a sign of fear, what if we saw wearing a mask as part of our commitment to love one another?  After all, wearing a mask has less to do with protecting ourselves; a mask is mostly meant to protect others, especially the most vulnerable in our society.  I can think of nothing more Christian than selflessly loving others and especially the vulnerable.

I have no reason to believe that I have COVID-19 right now nor do I think I have been exposed to anyone with the virus.  Yet, I wear a mask as a way of saying to my neighbors that I love you.  I choose love over inconvenience and comfort. I wear a mask because I see it as a simple way to live into Christ’s commandment. “A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34). Love one another, wear a mask if you are able. ~Pastor Nathan