I used to wear a little cross on a chain around my neck. Nobody else could see it since I wore in tucked inside my shirt, but for years I wore it, not for show, but as a reminder to myself of the love God has for me and the love God calls me to have for others.

These days, I wear a mask to cover my nose and mouth. It is a cloth mask, made by a woman in our church. Whenever I put it on, I think of her and of her care for me and for others around her. And whenever I wear it, it also serves, like the cross I used to wear, as a reminder of the love God calls me to have for others, because the cloth mask I wear does very little to protect me.

To be sure, there are masks that would protect me, but we have been told repeatedly that most of us should not be wearing those. They are still in short supply in many critical settings, and we should leave those for folks whose exposure to the virus is greater—healthcare workers and essential workers required to work in close quarters.

The cloth mask that I wear does little to protect me, but it does a great deal to protect others from me. As such, every time I wear it, it serves to remind me of the love God calls me to have for others, and when I see others wearing something similar, they remind me of the love God has for me, because wearing cloth face masks is, in our time, what love requires.

And, of course, it’s hot to wear. It fogs up my glasses sometimes. Those straps get uncomfortable behind my ears. But I think of the healthcare workers who have to wear this sort of gear for hour after hour every day, and I think of the lady bent over her shopping cart as we pass in the aisle at the grocery store with fear in her eyes, and I think that my minor discomfort is nothing. It is a way to experience something of what those “front line” heroes experience. It is a way to remind myself that every person is a person Christ loves. And so, I wear my cloth mask, and so should you, for it is the spiritual discipline of these times, a sign of love, a light in the darkness.

–Pastor Don Steele

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