We all remember that fateful day, March 15, 2020, when the first case of coronavirus was reported in Kenya. All schools were closed immediately and the churches a week later.
A raft of other measures were implemented too including regular washing of hands and wearing of masks in public places, all in an attempt to curb the virus from spreading.
And Kenyans demonstrated that they could be their own brothers’ keeper. Everyone was faithful to the rules, and nobody could leave the house without a mask.
But two months down the line, things went back to normal. It started with wearing masks on the chin, and then advanced to not wearing them at all.
Not that we have been declared COVID- 19 free as a country, but for some reason, people have decided to throw all caution to the wind, and just be defiant.
What should be our response as Christians?
Mathew 5:14, “you are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” (NIV)
We are called to shine our light in a dark world. That means we get to do things differently that what the world does.
Unfortunately, many Christians often assume they can shine their light in the bigger things while seemingly ignoring the little things.
For instance, we wanna shout loudest when condemning acts of corruption, violence, abortion, bad politics, tribalism and the like. But when it comes to the seemingly ordinary things like acting by example in obeying the government’s directive to wear masks, we become part of the “defiant” Kenyans. Because we think it’s not a big deal.
But the truth is, it’s the little things that shine our light even brighter. Your neighbor may not see you on TV condemning corruption or violence, but he will see you obeying the government’s directive to wear a mask even if everyone doesn’t.
Why should you wear a mask even?
Nobody likes wearing a mask. We have various reasons why: we can’t breath well, it obscures non- verbal communication, you can’t sing well while having a mask, and the most hilarious…it obscures the image of Imago Dei (God).
My reason for not liking a mask is because it makes my glasses foggy every time I breath out. Yet nevertheless, I have to wear it because of the following reasons:
- It shows respect to the authorities.
1st Peter 2:13-17, “submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor”
God commands us to obey the authorities. We do that through the big things like filing our returns, being patriotic citizens who maintain law and order, and also through the seemingly little things, like obeying the ministry of Health’s directive to just put on a mask in public places.
That way, we won’t be not only honoring the government, but also our heavenly Father.
2. Wearing a mask says a lot about you.
I am not over spiritualizing your decision whether to wear a mask or not, but the truth is, whichever choice you make, it says a lot about you, as a Christian.
One of the greatest temptation I had to battle a fortnight ago when I went to church, was the one of whether to remove my mask so that I could be equal with everyone, or not. Only my sister and I had our masks on, out of the entire congregation.
But I remembered it says a lot about me as a Christian, and despite the many glances I got in my direction, I just kept it on.
Choosing to wear a mask is a matter of obedience. And this says a lot about your Christian life. Because, if you can’t obey the authorities you see, how can you possibly obey your heavenly Father who is unseen?
Obedience is not a gift. It is a character quality that is developed. We often tell God with arms raised,”where you lead me Lord, I will follow, just send me.”
But how practicable will that be? because if you don’t show obedience in the little things, how will you be able to obey God, and go whichever place he wants you to be? ( I have used an example of aspiring missionaries) but it applies to all of us. If we can be obedient in the little things, then we can be confident that with God’s help, we’ll be able to obey even what he commands from us, in the Scriptures.
3. It is an opportunity to show love to our neighbours.
Mathew 22:39: and the second is like it: ” love your neighbor as yourself.”
Wearing a mask is a good opportunity for you to practice neighbourly love. It has been shown that you may be having the virus, but you are just asymptomatic. And so this calls for each one of us to be their brothers’ keeper. Chances are small that you may be having it, but for the sake of that person who you may interact with, just put on a mask in public places.
You may be lucky that you have a competent immune system, that’s why the virus never did any harm, but it’s not that way with everyone. So let’s practice neighbourly love by putting on a mask.
4. Putting on a mask protects you from the virus.
This is very obvious, but for some reason, people choose to put their lives at risk. “But we have God, He can cure us” or so they say.
But choosing not to wear a mask because you have faith that God can cure you, is more folly than wisdom. It’s like a married couple refusing to use contraceptives while trusting that God can give them the two children they desire. Well it may happen, and God can answer that prayer. I mean, he is God, nothing is impossible with him. But He gave us brains too, so that we can reason.
And so, let’s embrace wearing of masks even when we don’t feel like. This thing kills, as we have seen in the news. And maybe you haven’t really never seen someone gasping for breath before. So I’ll share with you one of my most traumatizing experiences as a student nurse. It was watching a 20 year old boy die, because his lungs had suddenly failed, and there was nothing we could do. It was so sad.
And as we have constantly heard, the virus affects the respiratory system mainly, and God forbid anyone of us gets. But as it is said, “prevention is better than cure.”