A note from
Rev. Rob Warren
A few days ago, a friend of mine asked me if I thought Jesus would wear a mask. I told the person I would get back to them. I thought I might share my response with you.
My first answers were my regular "quick/clever" ones—i.e., "While Jesus would have no need to wear a mask, he would wear it for others." I'm "fairly certain" of that response but it still sounds as if I'm saying I know the mind of Christ. My second was to look into scripture, the temptations of Christ specifically when Jesus says, "for it is also written, you shall not put the Lord your God to the test," quoting from Deuteronomy 6:16. My third flippant, and perhaps favorite was to acknowledge, "Yes, God led the people out of Egypt, provided food in the form of Manna and Water for their thirst... but they had to bring their own shoes"--all of which speak to my opinion that Jesus of Nazareth would be supportive of mask wearing - but the "theological problem" is not what I think our Lord would do, but what we would do.
In other words, "If Jesus asked you to wear a mask, would you?"
In John 14:15, we are told by Christ to keep the commandments and the books commonly known as the New Testament list about 50. Repentance is big, following Christ is in there, being persecuted - yet remaining faithful, rejoicing, reconciling with each other, keep your word, love enough to do more than required, love your enemies, not only show your faith publicly, but practice in secret, seek God's wisdom, do not fear, do not lust, do not judge... quite a few. Before wondering if there is a "new commandment," perhaps we should work toward perfecting the old. As Presbyterians, we are free to answer for ourselves if masking is loving our neighbor or non-masking is a demonstration of our faith. But in our struggle - we have to remember that it is not for us to judge the "other" or condemn, but to pray for all.
Another theological question that comes up with the idea of a "Masked Savior" is, "Would you recognize the Lord standing in front of you - wearing a mask or not?"
Even the disciples had difficulty recognizing the resurrected Jesus, and during his earthly ministry they were both deaf to his teachings and blind to his actions. So, before we "think so," realize that we only see the Savior when God chooses to reveal the Savior to us. 1 John 5: 20 "...the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true..." 1 Corinthians 13:12 reminds us that we see "in a mirror dimly" for now, but "will know fully, just as I have been fully known." So, we very well might not. But we can increase our chances in prayer and in study. It may not be the quick-fast answer, but the pandemic is giving us time for reflection. I think we're all coming to understand the phrase, "longing," in a new way - but what have we been longing for? For the world to return to "normal" or for the world to be reformed into a closer to the kingdom image of God's will?
Now - if we are so bold as to guess what Christ would do, what Christ would have us do, or think that we would recognize Christ, the next question is, "What, by our words and deeds, shows our willingness to read scripture, humble ourselves before God & do what we already know to be clearly stated in/by the Word of God?" In other words - how is our track record on the aforementioned commandments of the New Covenant? To put it another way, "Can people recognize that Christ and the Holy Spirit are within us?” Is our faith practiced outside and in secret? As is stated in Hebrews 12: 14, "Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord." In other words, if you want to see if Jesus would wear a mask - we must be at peace with each other, and continually seek sanctification. In other words, continually acting to remove ourselves from sin (like presuming to know the mind Christ) and becoming more faithful, which takes work.
So, the answer is "simply" this, if you want to know the answer to that question and many others, pray, work, worship, study, and in time, God will reveal the answer. Or perhaps not - which is an answer in and of itself.