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"Supporting SKMB Churches and Camps in making disciples."

COVID-19: The Masked Christian

Doesn’t loving others mean protecting them?

Full disclosure. During the pandemic I wear a mask when I am asked to do so. I wear a mask when I am in situations where there are a lot of people. I wear a mask in the presence of vulnerable people. I wear a mask when singing in public like a worship service.

We live in interesting times, albeit turbulent times. Consider, for example, the simple face mask. The discourse around its wearing during a pandemic has become caustic, bitter and divisive — nearly a call to arms, either for or against. South of the border the battle lines are being drawn at a feverish pitch. In some quarters, wearing or not wearing a protective mask identifies you as a metaphorical leper. Like today, during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic anti-mask rallies were not uncommon or less volatile. Thankfully, in Canada cooler heads have prevailed, although we have had several public rallies by those who vehemently advocate abolishing these perceived affronts to personal liberty. The good news here is that the blusterous opining of these few are profoundly misguided, and Canadians know it. Hence, only a smattering of the curious attend.

Sadly, some well-intentioned Christians have failed to engage in respectful, reasonable and well-informed dialogues. Instead, they have adopted the latest, loudest and most popular anti-mask conspiracy drivel and come out swinging. What makes such behaviour all the more damaging is that they bring their newfound cause, with full bluster, to their local pastor and church, demanding unquestioning and immediate alignment. To be fair, there have been believers who have advocated for full-on mask appropriation with a similar unhealthy zeal. They too have failed to demonstrate kindness. Either approach, done without a view to the interests of others, always results in division, derision, distain and disillusionment. We need a pensive, wise, respectful and tolerant engagement of the matter. In this milieu, the following thoughts may be helpful for a sound colloquy:

Look at our reality. We are in a pandemic. Our medical and governing authorities have highly recommended wearing masks, specifically in spaces where there are high numbers of people. COVID-19 is spread via airborne droplets. This is a pathogen whose impact on the human body is still not fully understood, but the news so far is alarming. Yes, it initially effects some to a far lesser degree, but the medical community is just beginning to discover the long-term, post-recovery health issues of the virus, even of those who had mild symptoms. And, let us not forget, people die from this virus – infants, teenagers and adults. Therefore, it only seems reasonable and in the spirit of being civic minded to do that which protects us and others from such a virus. The overwhelming scientific evidence identifies that the wearing of a mask is a simple tool in curtailing the transmission of this contagion.
Look at Jesus. Friends, our call is to be Christlike in every facet of our life on earth, perhaps especially so during this pandemic. Jesus modelled and spoke of loving one’s neighbour in the same vein as loving God (Luke 10:27). He spoke of treating our neighbour as we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). He said that there was no greater love than laying down one’s life for another (John 15:13). It seems to me that wearing a mask in order to safeguard our (and another’s) health powerfully demonstrates loving one’s neighbour.

As the pandemic rages on and this kerfuffle plays out in the background, wearing a mask in obedience to our benevolent government, in compliance with the erudite counsel of our health professionals and with the purpose of safeguarding our neighbour’s (and our own) health, just seems wise. And remember, Scripture reminds us that love, “always protects” (1 Corinthians 13:7a).

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COVID-19: The Masked Christian

Doesn’t loving others mean protecting them?