Monthly Archives: April 2021

Get Rid of Your Mask (this article isn’t what you think it is)

Upon entering Karla’s car this week, I counted that she has eleven face masks in her vehicle (not counting the package of disposable facemasks). Eleven. The number of disciples after the demise of Judas and before the addition of Matthias. E-Leven?!

I can assure you she is not Hyrdra (this is a reference to the Greek mythological creature that had nine heads). Even if she was some sort of socially distancing Hyrdra, she’d still have two masks to spare. I asked the logical question: Why does anyone need eleven facemasks in their motor vehicle?

Karla’s excuses (I mean explanation) included: some masks are her mom’s (legitimate excuse), some masks are for friends (the disposable ones) and the majority are waiting to be worn based on the outfit she is wearing. Apparently, the facemask is a fashion statement. Who knew? I grab a facemask based on which one looks the cleanest. Color, fancy designs and/or gospel messaging are not a deciding factor. My thinking in picking a face mask is: “This one doesn’t look like I used it as a Kleenex, in a war zone while cleaning my vacuum cleaner. I’ll take it.” 

File the previous few paragraphs under the heading: The Difference Between Men and Women in a Pandemic.

Why write about my wife’s eleven facemasks? No matter which hill you stand upon in the Great Pandemic Facemask Debate, we are all getting tired of wearing masks (I heard that “Amen.”). But here’s my desire and prayer: Long after the pandemic is in our rear-view mirror and masks are no longer required, may we also leave behind some of our other mask-wearing ways. I’m not talking about the cloth that covers our nose and mouth, but the masks we wear when we are not being our true selves. The masks we put on when we say, “We’re fine,” when we are hurting and need a friend. The mask we wear when we try to fit in with the crowd, and the other mask we put on when around our Christian friends. The mask that tries to communicate, “I’ve got everything together,” instead of the reality that is “I need Jesus.”

People have been wearing masks to cover up their true self long before Covid. Let’s remove those masks and be like Jesus. Paul’s instructions to the Galatians: All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-27). Moreover, when life gets back to normal (and it will one day) instead of masks, let’s wear the attributes that Paul gave to the Colossians: As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12). 

Putting on Christ and wearing the attributes of Christ-likeness is what our world needs most—pandemic or no pandemic.

Baptism Sunday: If you’ve had a change of heart; Bring a change of clothes

Death is our greatest foe. We don’t like it. We don’t even like saying the word. Instead, we will use a variety of terms to describe death without saying the “D” word. 

Passed on, 

croaked, 

kicked the bucket, 

passed to his eternal reward, 

met his maker, 

checked out, 

pushing up daisies, 

called home, 

was a goner, 

bit the dust, 

gave up the ghost, 

left this world, 

no longer with us, 

bought the farm, 

with the angels, 

time was up, 

cashed in, 

crossed over Jordan,

withered away, 

gave it up, 

that’s all she wrote,

went to be with Jesus,

it was curtains, and 

promoted to Glory. 

I’m sure there are more ways to say it. We know it our head the cliché about death and taxes. We all have an expiration date. We can know it intellectually. Still, we humans try to avoid it. 

Maybe that’s why I love Easter (He is risen!) and why I love the meaning and symbolism of baptism so much. Easter tells the world that Jesus has defeated death (He is risen, indeed). Baptism tells the world that death has been defeated in us. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward grace. We were dead. Now, thanks to the Resurrected Lord, we are alive! Paul said it this way in Romans 6: We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:4). 

We enter the waters of baptism as people sinking deep in sin. Death’s reality is only a matter of time. We are doomed, drowning in the all of life’s turmoils. In baptism, as the water is applied, it symbolizes that in Jesus we have new life! Jesus has washed our sins away! Death and sin have lost their power over us. We have a new community in the church and a new reality of life everlasting. I just love baptisms!

It’s news so good that we need to share it. That’s why we have public baptisms. We want the world to know, we have decided to follow Jesus. I’m a new person. The old is gone the new has come. Shout it from the mountain topes: Jesus has made me new!

It’s not too late for you to be baptized this Sunday at Central Church. If you have had a change of heart, bring a change of clothes with you on Sunday. Call the church and speak to a pastor today. We’d love for you to share what Jesus has done in your life in getting baptized this week!