1. We desire to love the Lord.
Jesus answered, “The foremost (commandment) is, ‘Hear, Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’Mark 12:29-30 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.John 14:15 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“Every person is to be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a servant of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.”Romans 13:1-8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God, that by doing right you silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Act as free people, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond-servants of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.”1 Peter 2:13-17 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
The clear teaching through the whole Scripture is that all human authority is established, sustained, and used by God for His purposes. This means that the rulers of Babel, Pharaoh of Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Darius the Mede, Ahasuerus of Persia, and even Nero of Rome were allowed to come to power by God’s sovereignty. Each of these pagan, idolatrous and wicked rulers were raised up, allowed to pursue their own means, and eventually crushed according to the plans of God.
During the course of their reign, all of them required unique behaviors and customs of their peoples. Regardless of the reason, rationality or lawfulness of the command, the only time that God’s people were excused from following the king’s order was when the king’s desires were in direct conflict with the commandments of God. Wearing of masks is neither expressly prescribed nor condemned by the Scripture.
2. We desire to love our neighbor.
The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”Mark 12:31 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law. 9 For this, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law.”Romans 13:8-10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“Let’s not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let’s do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.”Galatians 6:9-10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
I believe it is un-loving to knowingly or negligently bring pain & suffering into the life of another human being. There is a real novel virus, COVID-19, that is a high risk to the elderly and those with high-risk health issues. Our church family is made up of people of all ages and health. By wearing masks, we are reducing the risk of the spread of this deadly disease to both our brothers & sisters in the faith and to those who enter our building who do not yet know the Lord as their Savior.
3. We desire to protect our church.
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.Acts 20:28 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
- Spiritually – lead by example in following Scripture
Therefore, I urge elders among you, as your fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and one who is also a fellow partaker of the glory that is to be revealed: 2 shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not with greed but with eagerness; 3 nor yet as domineering over those assigned to your care, but by proving to be examples to the flock. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. 5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God is opposed to the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 having cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares about you.1 Peter 5:1-7 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
- Mentally – to provide reasonable protection against spreading COVID-19
- Emotionally – to establish our property as a ‘safe’ place where ALL may worship the Lord.
- Physically – to protect our building from closures by the local health department. Any closure(typically 2-weeks) would deeply impact our church AND school ministry.
- Financially – to protect our church from litigation due to negligence. Church Mutual, our liabilityinsurer, has given us clear guidance on our risk regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and our response. They have communicated that they would provide normal coverage to us provided we follow local, state, and federal guidelines. Should we choose to ignore these guidelines, we would knowingly open ourselves to liability & lawsuit without any financial protection provided by our policy.
Few, if any, enjoy wearing a mask, but we do it to please the Lord, love our ‘neighbor,’ and protect our church.