Wednesday, July 01, 2020

DE Ponderings

by Kevin Kessler

Lisa Sharon Harper, a self-proclaimed evangelical, wrote in an essay the following rather provocative question: And what if the call of God to white evangelicals is to stop trying to be God, to control everything and everyone, and to join the rest of humanity—beloved dust?

Those last two words, beloved dust, speak volumes. Regardless of who we are, what we profess, how we live, where we live, our origins are the same as well as will be our endings: By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return (Genesis 3:19 NRSV).

The message from Genesis is humbling. We are no less than nor more than any other human being—past, present, or future—on this earth.

Perhaps we would do well to keep all of this in mind as we navigate a global health pandemic. To defy the recommendations of learned scientists and doctors who strongly encourage and suggest that we follow certain hygiene protocols to alleviate the negative impact of a rampant virus is in essence placing the importance of others below our own. If, as we learn in Genesis, we are all dust, then isn’t it incumbent on us all to value all others as we value ourselves and do all we can to display the utmost worth of all others?

There are many protocols to follow to help alleviate the infection rate of COVID-19. One that seems to prompt the most conversation and perhaps confrontation is the wearing of face masks. My view is that I wear a face mask not primarily to protect me but that I might offer a safer space for others in my presence. Wearing a mask is not about me; it is about how I value the other as much as or maybe more than I value myself.

I’ve also come to the following conclusion about face masks. If I learn at some future date that wearing face masks was absolutely unnecessary, and I faithfully wore one during the height of pandemic concern, I will have zero regret. Why? Because I wore a face mask not out of obedience to any prescribed law. Rather, I wore one because I valued the worth of all others. And that, in my view, is reason to do something that, honestly, I passionately dislike doing. I will have no regret knowing I have upheld the value of the rest of humanity. I am, with you, beloved dust.