I went to the grocery store yesterday and after hearing the recommendation to cover your face coming from a number of different sources, I tried to wear a scarf. If we had listened to our son Chandler, we would have been much more prepared for this. He wanted us to order masks some time ago and we just got around to doing it last week. Our first order was supposed to be here this week, but it got lost, so the next batch might get here by the end of May if at all. Fortunately, our friend, Patti, is sending us some cloth masks she is making that should arrive today. That will be great because the scarf thing just isn’t working. It keeps slipping off my nose and I have to keep pulling it up — something I’m not supposed to do because that contaminates my hands and then I can’t avoid touching my face when I pull it up.
All this extra stuff to try to remember is very unsettling while I’m trying to find things on my list in a strange store I came to, hoping to find paper towels. I did not. You have to be first to the store in the morning if you want to get the necessary provisions required for your home because they put out a limited supply in the morning and when that’s gone — that’s it for the day.
I’m seeing more and more masks now and thinking that’s probably a good idea, if not for me, for other people. At first I thought masks were unnecessary — only for hypochondriacs who are afraid of everything. I think differently now. I just read the following comment in this morning’s news. “The mask is not about me, but rather we. And our reaction to the recommendation [to wear one] signals whether we feel connected to our fellow Americans or regard ourselves as disconnected free agents.” It’s becoming more and more clear that it’s those “disconnected free agents” that we have to look out for. Any one of us could be an unknown carrier of this disease. We have to not only protect ourselves from everyone else, but protect everyone else from us.
So there is a necessary and good humility attached to wearing a mask that would be good for us all to embrace. So what if we look odd? This is all about saving lives and none of us has all the answers, so looking at the rising death rate should lead us all to conclude that erring on the side of caution is the desirable thing. I’m normally all for being a free spirit (as well as not wearing masks, either physical or mental), but right now, we need to think of our place in the human caravan.
In fact, this is a time to go out of our way to consider our place in the neighborhood and the community. As Christians, we should be the first to comply with our state and local leaders, not to shun them as some are doing. Who is going to want to hear what we have to say when we speak of the gospel of welcome if we are giving those in charge the brush off and disregarding the wishes of our neighbors?
Peter wrote to the early believers: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:13-17)
We are free. Free to be God’s slaves and do what He wants, not what we want, and He wants us to submit to the authorities over us. They are trying to make decisions for the good of all. That is what we want, too. So connect to your fellow Americans (with a mask, at a proper distance), and show proper respect to everyone.