(Brooke’s generosity Blog)
May 24, 2020
Why I wear a mask? I don’t like masks. They are sweaty and uncomfortable and impede communication. When I put on my reading glasses, they sometimes fog up. No one can see my smile. We have emotions, but it is hard to communicate them when you cannot see my face.
As a child I had asthma. One Halloween, I wore a mask. If my memory is right, I was eight, and the mask was an image of Huckleberry Hound. I did not like wearing a mask. It felt like I was suffocating. I didn’t like masks then, and I don’t like them now!
Regardless of my feelings I choose to wear a mask these days. I do not wear a mask at home or when safely and appropriately distanced during our live-streamed worship on Sunday. At times when I am out of the house, I wear a mask. I wore it at the fuel pump despite no one being near me as I filled up my car last week for the first time in more than two months. I wear it when I pick up something at curb side.
My mask is a comfortable mask. It was made by a friend for me. She made one for each of our family members with cloth that matched our personalities and head size. (She knew my head was a little on the large side so made allowances.) My mask does not go around the ears, but ties behind the head.
I wear a mask for the safety of others and my own but more importantly as a witness to my faith and concern for others. Wearing a mask has for me become a call to prayer.
In the scale of things this is a tiny thing to do. I am not being virtuous or noble. I am just wearing a mask. I wear a mask because I care about the wellbeing of other people and of myself. My faith tells me to love my neighbour as myself and to care for the least of these, the most vulnerable around me. It reminds me that I am not doing this for myself alone. I see others wearing masks and I feel a kinship. It is a long way from me putting on a mask, and those who require PPE to do their work of care in hospital, nursing home, in emergency services, and in caring for those in hospice and in palliative care. We are all in AWE of those who serve.
Knox closed our doors after mid-March. We rapidly researched what we needed to do to keep people safe. We follow all the regulations as given by the Province of Ontario. Some thought we should not be worshipping in the church at all. We followed the advice from the Attorney General of Ontario’s office to use our worship space as a studio with strict locking of our doors a requirement.
We stopped public worship like all other congregations, not out of fear, but as an act of faith. We need safe spaces and large gatherings are not safe now. We care for others. This is an act of faith and trust.
Our prayers and praises bring healing and health to the world even if we’re ‘just’ livestreaming, or on Radio, or on our YouTube channel. WE are blessed to have made wise investments in the past to be able to seamlessly move to exclusive worship by livestreaming/YouTube/Radio.
I wear a mask because I can. I can do this small thing and keep others and myself safe. I wear a mask because I am part of something larger than myself. I’m connected with everyone I encounter. Like all of us, we are joined in the fabric of relatedness with all God’s marvelous creation.
And so, despite the discomfort I wear a mask because it’s an act of love for my neighbour and I strive in this small way to love my neighbour as I love myself.
Life is precious. Life is a gift from God.
Like the 13th century mystic Meister Eckhart we can say: “If the only prayer you say in your life is Thank You, that would suffice.”