Our thanks go out to Brendan Armitage for writing this week’s devotion!
“And behold a leper came to him [Jesus] and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.”~~~Matthew 8:2
Medical mask. Surgical mask. Clown mask. Bandana. Scarf. Home-made mask by a grandma down the street… we’re all living with our noses and our mouths covered-up. I overheard a nurse on TV today saying “Your mask should cover your chin, up around your mouth and up over and pinched around the entirety of the nose.”
But that wry “upturn of the mouth” smile. The shocked “He didn’t do that!” look with the dropped-jaw and open mouth. Even the “Go away” sticking-out-your-tongue expression. All of the emotions you indicate with your mouth are gone behind the “Hello Kitty” black and pink mask you cover your face with at Stauffer’s, right?
But you know what seems to shine through behind my blue surgical look? It’s my crow’s feet. Yes. The wrinkles around my eyes that indicate that I’m laughing and delighted to see you. Those signs of aging are now my best weapon to visually let you know that I’m happy to see you (from 6’+ away, of course).
When God puts us all behind masks, and pulls us from church and keeps us in our houses for weeks at a time, it’s not out of abandonment or punishment. God has not left the building, or your life, or our lives together.
God is simply changing your situation. You’ve adapted to snow. You’ve adapted to rain, and heat, and wind and the rhythm of our 7-day week with church on Sunday and work Monday-Friday and the 52-week year with Easter in Spring and Christmas in Winter. We’ve adapted to that.
Now, he’s prodding you to learn how to look to Him in ways that we’ve not had to before. Look to your Bible to find passages that allow you to withstand “social distancing”. We see it in Jesus’ response to the lepers in his day. We see it in his struggle with desire and want as he separated from the world for 40 days and nights.
We can learn how to be Christian without the handshake and express our humanity without being right on top of each other. It’s just a change in our habits. I’m still delighted to see you at the grocery. God will always love you. We can learn how to smile through the eyes, behind the mask.
See you (someday) in church.