From the Pastor's Desk
The Golden Rule in the Days of a Pandemic
As I was skimming the headlines in Yahoo today, I read, “Disney Parks face backlash for requiring guests to wear masks: ‘Masks should be optional!” It’s not a new concept – whether or not to wear a mask when out in public. The CDC has said that the virus spreads human to human through droplets (saliva) from an infected person. The CDC has also said that people may also be contagious even if they don’t have symptoms, or just before their symptoms start.
At one of our youth Zoom gatherings lately, one of the teens said, “I don’t wear a mask because I’m not afraid to die. I know when I die I’ll go to heaven, and that’s a much better place than it is here.”
That got me to thinking. I’m not afraid to die either. I know that I am living in eternity with God because I have chosen to be in a relationship with God through Christ … “If you believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord and confess with your lips that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:9)
So since I’m going to heaven, I don’t need to wear a mask, right? Consider this:
What if I am one of those who have the virus but never have symptoms? I’m contagious, but don’t know it. So I go to the grocery store, and something makes me sneeze. I cover my mouth, but we all know that isn’t 100%. Some of the droplets get onto the handle of the grocery cart. I finish my shopping, put the cart away and go home. The next person who gets that cart has high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes (each of those are high risk conditions).
If that person isn’t wearing gloves (because they cannot be purchased anywhere, for any amount of money), they push the cart over to the stand with the wipes that are used for cleaning carts. But the wipes are out (because, again, they are sold out everywhere), so this person has to use the cart I coughed on.
They get sick, and because of their preexisting conditions, they die. Yes their death is the fault of the virus. But I, with the virus, did not take precautions and so made it possible for that person to get the virus. My carelessness, my refusal to take precautions because “I’m ready to die,” caused someone else to die.
Okay, they died – but they’ll go to heaven, right? How do we know that? We don’t know if that person had faith in God through Jesus. We don’t know if that person was ready to die. We don’t know if that person was the sole caregiver to someone who is bed-bound. We don’t know if that person is a single parent with small children at home, with no close relatives or friends to take care of them. Those children, grieving, confused, scared, not understanding that their parent isn’t coming back, those children would be put into foster care. For the rest of their childhoods.
All because I couldn’t be bothered to take a few simple precautions, to look out for the care and concern of others
Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength;” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 22:37-39). Jesus said, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt. 7:12). That is, treat others the way you want to be treated.
You may not want to take the precautions for yourself, but consider others, and treat them as Christ would treat them. “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:20-21)
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
Our stay at home order has expired. We can go wherever we want now. How will we love others through this time of uncertainty and fear?