A couple of Sundays ago just before most of the stores in our community started requiring shoppers to wear a mask, I posted a picture after church of me wearing a new face covering mask standing in front of our stained glass box window of Jesus and John the Baptist on social media.
I simply captioned it, “Love one another. It’s that simple. They’ll know we are followers by our love.”
Boy, I did not expect a friend in Northwest Missouri to come down on me hard as a liberal.
They wrote, “I’m impressed that now LOVE can only be displayed by the wearing of a mask; guess all dem cowboys robbing the stage coaches & banks really did LOVE people after all rather than the money they stole! If someone chooses NOT to wear a mask that person can NOT follow Christ or be a Christian? I guess IF one doesn’t vote conservative that person is incapable of being a Christian also; simplified comprehension! Do as I say or else?”
I was simply trying to show support for those who choose to wear a mask to church.
It did not concern him or his church, which I once pastored.
It seems in America there has been an ongoing debate about government officials whether they have the authority to make citizens of their state, county and community wear masks in public.
My wife works in a large big box store, and she is required by the corporate office to wear a mask daily when she is at work.
They recently said that all customers will have to wear a mask if they are to come into the store.
Boy howdy did social media light up.
People said they would never shop at the store again until masks we’re not required.
I know that we can find opinions both pro and con about the benefits of wearing a mask in public.
I will not debate that, it is controversial.
As a pastor, I choose to wear a mask in church because I am the shepherd of the flock, and I try to the best of my ability to set an example for the members.
During the church services, we both offer mask and sanitizer and gloves for church attendees to use at their discretion.
As the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we have always tried to agree to disagree on all matters.
Most people have reasons for why they do what they do.
This includes why people choose to wear a mask or choose not to. We do not agree on all matters, but, yet, we worship together each Sunday.
So, I thought I would share why I choose to wear a mask in most cases when I am in public, unless I am preaching or teaching or fishing.
It seems that the mask has become politicized.
It seems to break down over conservative or liberal views.
It seems to break down over red or blue views.
I refuse to allow politics to shape how I choose to respond to this anymore than I have to.
This should never have been a political issue in the first place, and it is to the shame of both the left and the right that it has become so.
So, I am far more interested in how other countries have handled this than I am in how our politicians on both sides say we should.
But, more than anything, I have prayed about this and see wearing a mask as a way of glorifying God and serving others.
I am concerned for my own health because I am of a certain age.
I know a great many people out in our community who are also very worried.
As I mentioned earlier, my wife works in the general public at a big box store, and the store takes as much precautions as they can.
We have both agreed that all we can do is be as safe as possible in our own situations.
We wash our hands and use sanitizer as often as we can.
I know that the sight of me wearing a mask is a source of comfort for some people.
It gives them peace of mind in a world where peace of mind is all too hard to come by.
And, who knows, perhaps I am protecting their health as well.
If Jesus was willing to give his life for me, how could I not give a moment of comfort for others?
I believe this is a reflection of my Christian faith.
Is this for everyone who claims to be a Christian?
I can’t answer that question.
But, I will say this.
Have you earnestly prayed about what God would want you to do?
Have you considered others more highly than yourself as the scriptures command us?
“But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35
Can we not simply love as Jesus did and err on the side of love?
Rev. Frank Chlastak began work as senior minister of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Poplar Bluff on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.
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