Editor’s Desk: Masks, Mandates and the Gospel

By Jamie Harms

The big news this week in Oregon was Gov. Kate Brown’s mandates that indoor groups must be limited to 10 people and masks must be worn in public places, including outside if social distancing is not possible. I know many who are frustrated with our leadership and see this mandate as encroaching on personal freedoms, while I also know many who are relieved and feel more comfortable as they venture into public spaces. Feelings of frustration, anger, fear, and relief are valid, but what are we to do as followers of Jesus, who are living in this crazy world?

Matthew 22 gives us a start to the conversation as to how to live. In this passage, the teachers of the law ask Jesus what the greatest commandment is in all of the Scriptures. He replies that the mandate they should ultimately follow is to love God and to love others. Such a simple statement, yet often so difficult to live out. 

One perspective on the subject of loving our God and neighbors in this season that has resonated with me and challenged me was an article written by Brett McCracken with The Gospel Coalition. In “4 Reasons to Wear a Mask, Even if You Hate It,” he shifts the narrative of personal freedoms and comforts that we read much about to an opportunity for the gospel by loving our God and our neighbor.

I acknowledge that McCracken’s article is one application and not the only way we live out Matthew 22:37-40. However, the challenge still remains to live as gospel witnesses to our sisters in Christ and the community around us. So how will you respond today?