In A Nutshell | May 14, 2021

Mask Removal Coming Soon; Let’s Make It Permanent!

As we continue to emerge from the dark shadow cast by the coronavirus, people everywhere, including here at Oak Chapel, are asking, “When can we remove our masks?”

Good question! I think all of us are ready to put our masks in a deep corner of our dresser drawer with the hopes that we will never need them again, but right now, we need to hang on, at least a little longer.

While many in our congregation have received the vaccine, some have not, and although we are told that it is upwards of 95-percent effective in preventing the virus, we still don’t know for sure, so in an effort to protect everyone, we need to continue masking. I think we have an obligation to be considerate of our friends, neighbors, and fellow congregants to continue masking, even though we are all tiring of it. We’ve made it this far; we can certainly see it through to the end.

Now, the question becomes, when is the end? Governor DeWine says the mask requirement might be lifted in early June. President Biden is suggesting that July 4th could be our target date for a “return to normalcy.” Either way, the end is in sight.

In the meantime, perhaps we might also consider another form of masking — the things we do in life in an effort to cover up behaviors that we know would not be pleasing to the God we serve.

Right now, we can hide behind our physical masks, so that no one knows whether we are smiling, frowning, or something in between. Likewise, we often engage in masking behavior in an effort to disguise the things we do that we know we shouldn’t.

But Scripture is implicitly clear about God’s disdain for this type of deception. Verse 7 of Psalm 101 sums it up quite nicely with these words, “No one who practices deceit shall dwell in my house; no one who utters lies shall continue before my eyes.”

The only thing worse than telling a lie is getting caught in one. I’m sure we’ve all been there at one time or another, but it is clear that the Lord heralds honesty and despises deceit as we read in Proverbs 6, Verses 16-19: “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him.” Included in this list is “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who breathes out lies.” We honor God and others by our transparency and our honesty.

We may find ourselves in situations where we feel pressured to deceive, but it only leads to further entanglement as we see in the 17th Verse of Proverbs 20, which states: “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.” A deceitful past catches up to everyone sooner or later.

So maybe we can use these dwindling days of masking as a reminder that when it comes to our faith journey, spiritual de-masking through honesty and transparency is, and always will be, the best policy.

I am so thankful for the honest and forthright people at Oak Chapel who refuse to hide behind the mask of deceit and instead live a life of truth and transparency. May we honor God and each other simply by practicing honesty in all that we say and do.

Until we meet again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John

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