Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Pastor Tia of Christ the King, May 20, 2020

Dear masked Saints!

Masks are the new must-have. And they are about to become the new fashion accessory. They tell us something about the wearer. My old neighbor has one with a large bass on it. Until then, I didn’t know that he was a passionate fisher. The rebels among us wear bandanas, one guy in a supermarket came in in his beekeeper uniform. Definitely fully protected. Months ago, he probably would have been denied access. Now, everyone was just a little jealous.

Masks protect others and myself. They hide parts of my face, but not my identity. I am still the same being, people will most likely still recognize my eyes and my gestures, while my voice might be a bit dulled. (By the way, we will have to strongly reconsider our judgment on other culture’s vestments that veil parts of the face after this is over!)

Wearing a mask has become quite normal for all of us to see other people. I remember, that the first couple of times I wore my mask, it felt strange and bothered me. I constantly wanted to itch my cheeks and my ears hurt and my glasses became all foggy. (I guess, wearing glasses is never really an advantage.) It was super annoying.

Weeks later, I don’t have these issues anymore. It’s like back when I got my braces and for the first week thought I would never again be able to properly smile or talk or eat. Until it had just become normal. Or like every time I get new glasses and I am so conscious about them and how they fit for a couple of weeks. Until I start looking for them, while wearing them, of course. Before leaving the house, I always check now: wallet, keys, phone, mask, hand-sanitizer. Ready to go.

Now, here is something I realized: I believe in a God, for whom it has become super normal to wear a mask in order to come close to us people. As Martin Luther wrote in his comment on Galatians (thank God, he wrote so much that there is basically no topic he didn’t “cover”, joke intended), God masked himself as a human being. God wore the mask of humanity so intensively, that God became human. Putting down any godly attitudes and masks and revealing his true self as a God who doesn’t only care about bodies, but knows what it means to have a body and be a body. He knows how it is when nobody protects you from dying way too early. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5,1)

I currently own 3 different masks, one is reversible. So, technically, I have 4. One for the beach, one for the rocky sea, one for hiking, one for shopping. Not that I couldn’t use them interchangeably. But it’s always nice to be able to dress for the occasion.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked our amazing church’s sewing group what kind of a mask they would suggest that implies that I am a pastor. A collar has to be done well, so it doesn’t just look like a Band-Aid. They promised to come up with something. (Ladies! Can’t wait to see it!!! No pressure, of course.)

Members and friends of our church, our so-called “Sewing Bees”, have been sewing masks for the last 2 months. Linda coordinates the supplies, picking up of materials and distribution. A “Bee Hive” basket is at her front door for picking up supplies and dropping off finished masks. They have donated over 700 hand-made cloth masks so far.

Masks have gone to some of our most vulnerable neighbors in Fremont, to members of our congregation and even as far as to a Navajo & Hopi community in Arizona. (You can probably see me beaming of pride right now over my little yet vividly resilient congregation. Even though that’s all their own work combined with the work of God and none of mine. But, hey, I am their pastor, so I get to be a little proud, right?)

We wear masks to be around people these days. Just like God did in Jesus. Wearing a mask doesn’t prevent us from being friendly, from smiling and greeting. Come on. I say: The bigger the distance, the greater the wave at each other! Because, behind every mask, there is another child of God. Behind every mask, Jesus can be found, clothed in a human body. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5,1)

Blessings, Pr Tia!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *