I have not made comments on this site with respect to the politics surrounding the coronavirus, COVID19, and isolation orders and I will not. However, I do think we can make some very strong statements about what we, as Christians,* should be doing: caring for the most vulnerable, the “least of these,” and giving ourselves for others, just as Jesus did for us.
Many of you know how much I love comics and over the last several years David Wilkie has been challenging and entertaining Christians with “Coffee with Jesus.” Yesterday I saw on Twitter today’s comic and I thought it was on-point. The comic is below, but here is the dialogue for those who cannot see the images.
James: I went to the grocery store today wearing a mask, Jesus. I felt like a sheep, a pawn.
Jesus: What if you wearing a mask prevents someone from getting something you don’t know you have?
James: Are you telling me that I’m carrying the ‘rona?
Jesus: What you don’t know could be someone’s death sentence, James. By the way, you look kinda cool in the mask.
It is a good, simple message. We do not know who has or may be spreading the virus, so just be cautious and take the simple precaution of wearing a mask. Again, as Christians, this is hardly the greatest sacrifice we can be asked to make for our neighbor, is it?
As is always the case, RFB has a bottom line. This time it reads, “This virus is unlike any other. You could’ve had it, might have it now, and exhibit zero symptoms. You could spread it. Maybe you’re young and healthy carefree, demanding that the beaches open and challenging the narrative. Least you can do is wear a mask at the grocery store to protect the vulnerable. We get your libertarian desire to live free and unconstrained by government, but this is about your fellow man. It’s humanity, not tyranny.”
Here Wilkie recognizes the likely political leanings of many of his readers and attempts to preempt arguments, saying that such restrictions are not signs of a tyrannical government, but evidence of caring for those who are vulnerable and at risk. Simple message, a Christian message, and one that should not be considered radical or divisive. And yet…humanity never senses to disappoint when it comes to the “depravity” bit. He posted this just over an hour after the comic went up on Facebook.
We didn’t anticipate the political fallout that today’s comic brought. 150 comments in an hour, mostly negative, says we stepped in it on that one. We try to encourage, not divide. That one was clearly divisive. It’s gone.
I do not agree with Wilkie’s decision and I said so on the Facebook page. Let others disagree! Let them show their own true colors or simply turn off comments on a comic that engenders dissent and disagreement. But do not back down. Have the courage of your convictions and leave the comic there for others to see and discuss. (BTW, it remains up on Twitter as of this writing.)
There are very real economic difficulties and challenges. People have lost jobs, have lost or will lose access to housing, and are experiencing all sorts of social, mental, and emotional challenges due to the shutdown orders. Figuring out the cost-benefit analysis on a pandemic and its impact on society is not easy. So take it one person at a time: What should you, as a Christian, do to protect those around you?
Seems to me, wearing a mask when we are out is the least that we can do for others. Oh, and for the record, I do not like wearing a mask. At all. But heh, it is the least I can do.
*By the way and to be clear, I know that one does not have to be a Christian in order to act compassionately and charitably, that is with love. In fact, this whole situation demonstrates that so often it is those claiming to be “Christians” who are the least interested in caring for “the least of these.” Thankfully there are millions of people of no faith or other faiths who are acting responsibly and with grace. Thank you.