I went to youth group back when there was a campaign in churches to promote abstinence: “true love waits.” One of the ideas in this messaging was that if you couldn’t wait to have sex until you’re married, then you must not truly be in love. You must be motivated by lust and your selfish drive for pleasure and immediate satisfaction.
In the beginning of the pandemic, my family accepted the idea that we wear masks to protect others. That made sense to us: a surgeon, and others in the operating room, don’t wear masks to protect themselves, they wear masks to prevent infection the patient. They know that they could have silent infection that they are unaware of but that could be deadly to the person whose body is lying before them, open and vulnerable.
As followers of Jesus, we understood that wearing masks, during a pandemic, was a simple way to communicate love to our neighbors. They’re not comfortable, but I get used to it after a few minutes and sometimes even forget I have it on.
We all want stability. We want to go back, or forward, to the time and place when life is more predictable. We have grown impatient with the never-ending pandemic. We want someone to declare that it’s over, as if it would end by royal proclamation or the democratic process. We want permission to leave the vulnerable behind and move on.
But that’s not the way of Jesus.
Love requires sacrifice. Love of neighbor means that we sacrifice our desires for the good of the community.
The way of Jesus is the way of true love and true love waits. Yes, some think those who wear masks are sheep; the sheep who sacrifice for the least of these, the sheep who will be blessed when the Son of Man comes in full glory.
The pandemic will come to end and mask recommendations will go away, until then, my family will continue to wear our masks as recommended.
As for me and my household, we will follow Jesus and choose love.