I see you protesting in the street. I hear your groans at the news of another month of staying at home. I understand your frustration with this whole situation. Trust me when I tell you that no one is happy about it.
I even understand your distrust of government and the morally questionable politicians who run it. I know you think that this is an overreaction, that we are being lied to by the media and by the government about the severity of this disease. Trust me when I say that I don’t believe some of it either.
I know that it’s hard, especially if you don’t have a job right now. I know that having the kids home from school is a struggle you didn’t foresee. I know that money is tight. I know that rent may be looming over your head. This is a scary time. You’re scared. I’m scared. We don’t see an end in sight and so we point the finger at whoever is highest in power and we blame them for all of our struggles. It’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to vent about orders that you think are unnecessary. It’s okay to roll your eyes, post memes, and wonder out loud when this all will end. I’m doing it too.
But please please please…. Put on a mask.
I don’t mean that you need to wear the mask all the time. No one is telling you that. I mean that when you go out in public and are in the vicinity of other human beings, you need to be wearing a mask.
Wearing a mask is the most Christ-like thing you can be doing right now.
Please hear me out. This isn’t just about the law – in my home state of Illinois, it is mandatory to wear a mask in crowded public places – it is about looking like Jesus. You carry the name of Jesus with you when you go out, Christian. You bear the name of our Lord and your actions show others the character of the God you follow. You are an ambassador for the Kingdom of God – everything you do reflects back on God.
Right now, some of us are not doing a very good job of that. Some of us Christians don’t look like Christ at all.
Christ humbled himself. He let go of his divine rights and took on fleshly humanity. He became a helpless baby, grew up in poverty, and never used his power for his own gain. He looked out for others at all times, even those whom society labeled as outcasts and sinners. He confronted a corrupt government but did not try to overthrow it – instead he spoke truth to it. He never threatened anyone, he never defended himself, and he even forgave those who convicted him of a crime he did not commit. Jesus Christ, God incarnate, led a life of submission and humility.
The call to follow Jesus Christ demands that we put on our masks.
The mask is not to protect ourselves from the virus – it is to protect others. It is for those of us who have contracted the virus but do not know it yet. It is a precaution to make sure that others do not get sick because of us. This is not about you, it’s about the safety of everyone else.
Putting on the mask is us humbling ourselves and choosing to love others. It is about moving on from our comfortable lives and taking one small step to ensure that our neighbors are safe. It is about letting go of our rights and grabbing hold of compassion and care for humanity. It is confessing that we are imperfect and acting in a way that keeps our imperfections from hurting others. It is embracing the fact that we don’t know everything and choosing to submit to others who might know a little more.
This whole thing might be an overreaction. Maybe it will turn out that the masks didn’t do much good. Maybe the disease is not as bad as the experts say. We are all imperfect. We are all wrong at some time or another. We all make mistakes.
But please please please…. Don’t make this mistake.
To be a Christian means to look our for the needs of others before ourselves. At this point in time, that means joyfully, graciously, and lovingly putting on a mask in public. It is the Christian thing to do.