|Posted by ureche1 on September 9, 2020 at 12:05 AM|
“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.”—Matthew 7:12
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”—Matthew 25:34-40
“‘The second is this, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.’”—Mark 12:31
The Theology of the Face Mask
During a Zoom meeting with KO Conference clergy and our Conference Minister, Edith Guffey, we were discussing the wearing of face masks in our states of Oklahoma and Kansas. While we were talking, Edith asked the group whether or not any of us had ever considered the theology of the face mask. Usually when you have a group of clergy gathered and you want to quiet the group, you ask who would like to lead prayer. That was how quiet this group became when she raised her question. I was one of those who had nothing to say in response to Edith’s question, but I have been thinking about it, and I believe now I have an answer for her, and you lucky readers get to read about it.
We have survived being told to shelter in place, and we have just gotten back into the swing of some normal routines. Now, Governor Kelly, as of midnight, July 3, 2020, has made wearing face masks in public mandatory. Up until that date and time, face mask wearing in public has been only highly recommended. Now we are being asked to wear face masks wherever we go: the grocery store, the hardware store, and any other places we can enter—we are now required to wear masks. Yes, even in church.
I don’t want to get into a discussion about individual rights and all the other arguments floating around as to why we, as United States citizens, can’t be told what we have to do with our bodies. I would, however, like us to look at wearing face masks from a Christian point of view. You know the whole WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) line of thinking, or better yet: what has Jesus taught us as his followers to do. Or maybe even better, “What is the loving thing to do?”
So here are some words I have come across and adapted to these circumstances in which we find ourselves today. Please know that these are my thoughts, and they represent only me. Also remember that I am always available to answer your questions or discuss our opinions on this topic.
So, the big question is, “Why are we being asked (told) to wear face masks?” I believe it is not because it really protects us, but rather so we might protect others from us. So, to wear a face mask is a tangible act of loving our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31, Matthew 22:39,
Mark 12:31, and other passages not quoted here). What, theologically and biblically, does it mean to cover my face, to mask myself, to protect others--maybe even a member of our congregation?
I believe that wearing a mask is very much an act of love. I viewed an animated short recently that depicts the difference between Heaven and Hell. It is the picture of a long banquet table laden with wonderful food. There are two of these tables, one in Heaven and one in Hell. As the people gather to eat in both places, they are each given spoons with 6-foot handles (sounds like social distancing) and told they must only use these oversized utensils to eat. It appears at first glance that it will impossible to ever get anything to eat.
In Hell, the greatest eternal food fight ensues as each person desperately tries to feed him or herself. Food flies everywhere. People injure one another and themselves with these six-foot spoons. In heaven, after a few moments of thinking this through and giving thanks to Christ for their salvation, the people discern that even though they cannot feed themselves, they can feed one another. Nothing even falls on the floor.
Wearing a mask can be viewed a similar way, “My mask protects you, and your mask protects me.” I would call that an excellent theology and practice of agape love—love at the highest level.
Another way to look at the theology of the face mask is to turn to science. Years ago, Margaret Mead, the famous anthropologist, was asked by a student to explain; what is the first real sign of civilization in a culture of people. The student expected to hear about clay pots, tools for hunting, grinding stones, or religious artifacts.
“But no,” Professor Mead said. She noted that the first evidence of civilization was a 15,000-year-old fractured femur found at an archaeological site. A femur is the longest bone in the body, linking our hip to the knee. In societies without the benefits of modern medicine, it took about six weeks of rest for a fractured femur to heal. This discovered bone had been broken and had healed.
Mead explained that in the animal kingdom, if you break your leg, you die. You cannot run from danger; you cannot drink or hunt for food. Wounded in this way, you are prey for your predators. No creature survives a broken leg long enough for the bone to heal, because you would be eaten first.
But a broken femur that has healed is evidence that another person took the time to stay with the injured person, that someone bound up the wound, carried the person to safety, and maybe tended him or her through recovery. A healed femur indicates that someone helped a fellow human, rather than abandoning the person to save his or her own life. So helping someone else through a difficulty and sharing needed tasks, like growing crops and gathering resources, is actually where civilization began.
Maybe if we looked at wearing a face mask as the loving thing to it would help. We could count ourselves in the company others who did what might not have been the popular thing, but rather the loving thing. People like the Good Samaritan, the father in the prodigal son story, or even Jesus who never seemed to worry about the popular thing but rather always did the loving thing.
So, my friends, I encourage you to wear your masks, and I will wear mine. In so doing, we will be caring for those around us. For Jesus reminds us that when we have ministered to the least of these, we have ministered to him and also fulfilled the greatest commandment by doing unto others, as we would desire others to do unto us.
Peace and blessings,
Please pray for these people
on their designated day in July
1) Rachel Neufeld
2) Ellen Neufeld
3) Ray and Jeanne Osborn
4) Charlie and Carolyn Pauls
5) Lenore Postier
6) Loren and Denise Postier
7) Elva Rump
Devin and Jessica Schierling Karson, Kash, Kella
9) Gene and Karen Schierling
10) Roy and Shivawn Schierling
11) Dennis and Crystal Schroeder
12) Jerry and Ruth Sisson
13) Cassie Spears, Levi, Hailey
14) James and Sophia Stephens
15) Freddi Stowe
16) Jessica Stucky, Haley
17) Allen Thiessen
18) Merle and Karen Thiessen
19) Verla Thomason
20) Jim and Donna Toews
21) Lamont, Kelly Turcotte, Aoife, Loki
22) Dennis Ureche (Pastor) Diane Miller
23) Marcelyn Wittorff
24) Lois Wright
25) Kathy Zimmerman
26) Norman Achilles
27) Scott and Connie Achilles
28) Adam and Katie Albers, Cash
29) Phyllis Armstrong
30) Kara Ayers, Elian Dorantes, Maya
31) Adolyn Bartels
Revised Common Lectionary Readings
July 5 Genesis 24:34-38, 42-49, 58-67
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30
July 12 Genesis 25:19-34
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
July 19 Genesis 28:10-19a
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
July 26 Genesis 29:15-28
1 Kings 3:5-12
Romans 8: 26-39
Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Betty Bengston, Virgil Bengston,
James Bornholdt, Steve and Theresa Buller,
Terry and Karen Fay, William Forehand,
Vicki and Rusty Johnson, Gretchen Kimble,
Danny Parr, Loren and Denise Postier,
Kairos Prison Ministry, Gene and Karen Schierling, Jim and Sophia Stephens,
Nort Warner, Norma Friesen’s grand and great grandchildren, Connie Achilles, Charlene Thomas, Carlton Family
We mourn with you
Jim Porter Family and Friends
Nancy Warner Family and Friends
Men’s Fellowship Breakfast
Saturday, July 11
Inman Harvest Café
Everyone is invited to a
High School Graduation Reception for
Saturday, July 11, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
St. Peter’s UCC Fellowship Hall
Inman Community Vacation Bible School
Climb aboard for mountains of fun at
Rocky Railway. On this faith-filled adventure, kids discover that trusting Jesus pulls them through life’s up and downs.
Online at Inmanvbs.org
Sunday, July 12 thru Thursday, July 16
5:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
Thursday, July 22
Inman Community Food Pantry
Tuesday- 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Thursday-10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
beginning Tuesday, July 14
620-585-2627 or dmiller5906 @gmail.com
Volunteers are needed
Each church will take one month to provide volunteers. St. Peter’s has July and August to get this ministry started. One or two volunteers will be needed each shift. Training is provided.
Donations are also needed
Requested items include packaged dry items, cereal and crackers. Also, non-food items such as shampoo, laundry soap, toothpaste, bath soap, and toilet paper. At this time, we do not need canned vegetables, ramen noodles, or mac and cheese. Monetary donations are also appreciated.
6 Charlie Pauls
14 Phyllis Armstrong
15 Phyllis Knackstedt
8 Pastor Dennis Ureche and Diane Miller
15 Matt and Brenna Harris
St Peter’s United Church of Christ
107 North Pine, P.O. Box 506
Inman, Kansas 67546
Pastor Dennis Ureche—email@example.com
RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED
Rev. Dennis Ureche, Pastor
Ellen Neufeld, Organist
Beverly Castleberry, Church Secretary
Sept. thru May: Sunday School 9:30 AM
Morning Worship 10:30 AM
June thru August: No Sunday School
Morning Worship 9:30 AM
Followed by Brunch
St. Peter's United Church of Christ 111 N. Pine St. Inman, Kansas 67546 620-585-2627