Living Beyond Masks & Me
Friday - May 14th
Scripture to Read Today: Philippians 2:1-11
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
As we emerge more and more from the pandemic, psychologists, educators, economists, and pundits from every field evaluate what our "new normal" looks like in terms of personal and social health. Questions abound regarding the short-term and the long-term impact of this year of lockdowns and isolation on individuals, marriages, and families. Children, teens, and adults have been affected emotionally, mentally, physically, and even spiritually. It was a challenging year. Most of us carry some baggage.
While our well-being as individuals is vital, we cannot emerge from the pandemic with only ourselves in mind. Now is the time for the followers of Christ to focus on those who are outside our homes and who are even outside the household of faith. As many folks struggle to return to their normal lives, God presents His children with an opportunity to respond to questions regarding the basic meaning of life. The Gospel answers these questions so well. It provides the only answers - the answers from our Creator. We need to be sharing this Good News with others by what we do and by what we say. Our world needs to see the love of Christ in us and through us - not anger, frustration, and bitterness.
Yesterday, the CDC and the Biden administration announced a significant change regarding the mask mandate. Calvary leadership communicated a decision regarding how we proceed forward. The following three paragraphs are in italics and indicate this is our communication on this subject. You will see why I include this statement about masks in today's devotional in the paragraphs below the leadership statement.
Today, Thursday, May 13, the CDC and other health agencies provided updated guidance regarding the coronavirus. The new direction from the CDC and other leaders indicates masks are no longer required for those fully vaccinated in almost all settings. Based on this guidance and other factors considered by our leadership, masks will be optional for adults on Calvary's campus moving forward as life continues to return to normal.
We do recommend (not require) masks for children, middle school students, and high school students while on the Calvary campus. Since it appears at this time that schools will require masks until the end of the school year, we hope our posture on masks for minors will help alleviate confusion for children and students. We will reassess this recommendation after the school year ends.
We certainly understand that some will choose to continue to wear masks for health reasons while joining us on campus. No matter what you or your family decides, our commitment as a church family is to demonstrate a gracious spirit towards all regarding masks in the days, weeks, and months ahead. We invite everyone to have this same Christlike attitude toward each other as we transition back to normal.
The masks we have worn when out in public for the last fourteen months will forever be the symbol of the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. My guess in our leadership communicating that message today is that some will write and condemn us for being too "slow and fearful" on this. Others will write and condemn us for being too "quick and negligent" with this change in our mask policy. I am not as concerned about what people email me as I am saddened by how we treat each other as we discuss masks. My concern extends then into how we treat people in the world - those outside the household of faith - when talking about this topic.
I think believers on both sides of the mask debate can (and have) lost their Christlike testimony over the noise they make about wearing or not wearing masks. Jesus left Heaven's glory and committed Himself to the mission of redemption. It was all about others. Read Philippians 2:3-4 at the top of this devotional.
Jesus put up with humanity in its stupidity and sinfulness so we can be saved and live for Him - and spend eternity with Him. We need to live beyond masks and ourselves. We need to make sure nothing we do or say (no matter how right we think we are) distracts anyone watching our lives from the person and work of Jesus Christ!
We need to live for Christ and others! Masks should not be an issue for us one way or another. Let them see Jesus, not you!