Friday, July 31, 2020

Wearing a Face Mask: Christian Witness

There are some who say a face mask does little to protect them from the virus.  Some don’t wear a mask and say if God wishes me to catch this virus, “His will be done.”  And there are some who think their protection can be secured: “Just wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, sanitize/wipe surfaces before you touch them, and wear a mask”.

They are all right, and all wrong.  The first group is right in that protections we take for ourselves reduce our risks only somewhat, while the second group is more aggressive to protect themselves, but the key protection (according to the CDC), the face mask, does little to protect you from airborne virus, and most transmissions are airborne particles.

What both groups are trying to do is prioritize their protection, which is a good thing to do, but if those are the ONLY reasons they are taking these actions, they are selfish things to do.  We need to ask: “In this pandemic, how can I love God and my neighbor?”  Well, there certainly are the Works of Mercy (which I think I’ll write on another time), but there also is a way to, in love, seek to protect my neighbor from this pandemic.  It is doing something we don’t want to do, don’t have to do, may be expensive to do, yet we do it solely to help, in love, to protect our neighbor:  wear a face mask.

Data from the CDC (and other studies) indicate face masks offer only limited protections to the wearers from airborne virus particles.  But: face masks block our exhaled breath, allowing it to seep slowly through our mask.  Our exhaled breath may travel 6-10 feet, or over 20 feet if we cough or sneeze.  The mask-slowed breath particles only travel a foot or two outside the mask, as they seep out.  If we are carriers of this virus (and many are not aware they are), we are protecting our neighbor by wearing a mask.  Wearing a mask isn’t primarily for ourselves, it is an act of Christian love.

I wear a crucifix on a chain around my neck, keeping it outside my shirt, a visible Christian witness of my belief and trust in God, and my love of God and neighbor.  Yes, I will trust in Him and take prudent actions to protect myself from this virus, but I WILL to love my neighbor first, as Christ did.  On the sides of my face mask I have drawn a cross, a visible witness of why I wear it.



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