Anthony W. Brooks
“Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded...” – Exodus 34:34
This pandemic has been hard. For many involved the choice is clear, be careful, if masks can only help a little, might as well accept the little help they offer. Worship, though, is a trickier topic. The worship mandate seems to require an unveiled face. But I want to advocate a different approach.
In my church masks are not required. I see this as a moral issue. I see a moral issue with not wearing masks in crowded places. I advocate for mask wearing in public, but I also see a moral issue with wearing them in public worship. So what do I do with this quandary?
Conscience is a virtue
This last week I was lazy with a statement I told to the wife of an elder in my church. We were discussing mask wearing and I said I saw a moral issue with wearing them in worship. I left it there and I kinda feel bad. My position on this has not changed so I want to make one thing clear. I see it as a great sin to violate one’s conscience on this issue. If she were to have it laid on her conscience to wear a mask in worship to protect the laity from exposure and were to violate her conscience by not doing so that that would be a sin. I would never advocate her to violate her conscience in this regard. So in that Lord forgive me.
To violate one’s conscience is neither right nor safe as one German reformer once put it. So for me to challenge that is neither right nor safe. Worship is a solemn assembly that requires forgiveness and repentance, so I hope both can be had in this regard. In the past I’ve been boorish concerning my beliefs, so I am turning a new leaf. Conscience is a dangerous manner to consider, and violating that conscience is like betraying a friend.
Keep the conversation open to understanding. Understand that not everyone feels the same way that you do on this matter. There has been real resistance to mask wearing. This is wrong. Within our own congregation there is resistance to it; a resistance I don’t fully understand. But we have to be understanding and accepting of other people’s conscience.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Photo: Skin Cancer Foundation