I’m not sure what God those pastors represent, who preach against taking such precautions as masking and social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19. The God who gave grace to my childhood was One who so loved the world that the Incarnation of that Love, Jesus Christ, was sacrificed so we might not perish. That same Christ gave us the two greatest commandments: to love God with all of ourselves and to love our neighbors as ourselves. The Apostle Paul, one of the great voices of the Church, wrote of the overwhelming importance of love in 1 Corinthians 13:1-8: as just one example, “If I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”

So, yes, we might feel we should have the liberty to choose whether or not to mask. However, if we are to channel the love of the Creator – as pastors surely are tasked to do – isn’t choosing to mask, and requesting others to do so, too, a loving way to show care for the church community’s well-being, while also being far less onerous than giving up One’s dearly beloved Son to die?

Isn’t respecting parishioners’ right to life (and, by extension, that of their communities) more loving – more what God calls us to do – than worrying about whether the liberty to choose something far more trivial is being curtailed? When did the right to love and life stop extending to all God’s children?

Pam Blake

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