Rev. Valarie Englert, Senior Pastor
Do you remember that acronym from several years ago?
It popped up on billboards, advertising, bracelets, tee shirts.
It was so common, it became cliched.
At a fundamental level, though, the acronym points our attention to a very important question:
What would Jesus do in these days?
Would Jesus wear a mask?
There are all sorts of doctrinal and metaphysical perspectives that might argue Jesus wouldn’t need a mask.
He is the Christ. The Great Physician. The Savior.
But he was also a human who faced temptation, hunger, death.
In the wilderness, Matthew’s gospel tells us about three temptations Jesus faced: to use his divine power to sate his hunger; to grasp worldly power.
But the temptation that seems most salient to our own times is the second:
‘If you are the Son of God,’ Satan dares him, ‘then throw yourself off the highest point of the Temple.
‘Scripture says you will be rescued by angels!’ (my paraphrase).
Jesus refuses, declaring that he will not test God’s faithfulness in such a reckless and daring manner.
Jesus chooses to live as humans live – with the limitations, frustrations and challenges of life.
He doesn’t elevate himself or hold himself separate from the human condition.
What he does do is show us how to love each other, how to take care of those who are pushed to the outside, how to be connected together in one body by sharing in his very body and in his very blood.
Jesus underscores this by telling his listeners of the two greatest commandments: to love God with all our being and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
He even expands the definition of ‘neighbor’ to include those we distrust, those who aren’t ‘us.’
If we are are to do what Jesus would do, we will continue to wear a mask, to maintain physical distance, get vaccinated, wash our hands, and await the decline of the deadly scourge of coronavirus (which will surely come).
We find ourselves in one huge, unimagined, pandemic wilderness.
But God-in-Christ is with us in it, and we are in this together.