July 15, 2020
To mask or not to mask, that is the question. Ha! That is the debate, the argument, the hot topic, right? Want to get attention on Facebook? Tell people your opinion on masks and why everyone who doesn't agree with you is either an idiot or is succumbing to an undercover plot to take over the world. Want to blow up a family reunion? The way to do it used to be to ask people who they are voting for. Now if you want to make a mess of a birthday party, (if you have a birthday party) ask everyone what the mask policy should be.
In our elder's meeting Monday night, we discussed masks. At times it felt a bit like an out-of-body experience. What are the elders of a local congregation doing talking about wearing masks? What is going on? Well, the truth is, we really do not know all that is going on. Is the governor's order overkill? Too much? Constitutionally overstepping? What exactly is the governor's order? How does it apply to churches? What should we do? You and I may not know the full answer to all of those questions, but we can all agree on this: We do not all agree on what we should do. I am so grateful that we are not bound together by our views on masks, but by something much better, much deeper, and much more important.
Here is what we know. The number of infections from Covid-19 are rising, and we do not want to contribute to anyone being infected. We also want to meet together as we are called to do as a church. Can we meet together and not contribute to infecting one another? This is exactly what we are attempting to do. We have looked carefully at Executive Order 2020-147 from the governor. The order states that wearing face coverings is required in any indoor public space. Later on in the order, it states that at a house of worship, the wearing of face coverings is strongly encouraged.
The governor has repeatedly exempted churches from having to follow the orders for everyone else. I am grateful for that! At the same time, I don't want to flaunt that because we are to be a people who abide by the law unless the law infringes on our beliefs and practices about the gospel. Therefore, since we are physically distant when we are seated in the Worship Center, we recognize that wearing masks during the service does not accomplish anything. However, wearing masks as we come in and as we leave is a good way to be considerate of others and to obey our authorities.
The elders are asking this of all of us: "While attending services at Cornerstone, please wear a mask when you enter the building until you are seated in the Worship Center or ABF classroom. Once seated, you can take it off. After service, please put your mask back on until you are outside." Do we like this? Probably not. Can we do this? Sure. Is this something to fight about? Perhaps to some, but not to us and not here. There are way more important things at stake. Let's not lose sight of those.
Grace and peace, Bob