August 8, 2020
Dear Lake B Family and Friends,
Scrolling through my recent social media newsfeeds I’ve noticed many advertisements for all kinds of creative and functional face masks. All colors, all styles. I even saw one that was somehow sewn into a women’s blouse – business attire.
This made me wonder about something, so I googled “clergy face masks.” Sure enough, there it was: face masks to match clergy vestments (“vestment” is a religious word for robes and accessories that clergy members wear).
Clothing has always been part of how a culture defines itself. If even the church is marketing face masks as part of its vestments for clergy, it’s safe to say we are experiencing a cultural shift. The face mask is a new marketing opportunity. It is also symbolic of the political divide and socioeconomic disparities of our day that are shaping how we view one another and the world.
I suggest the face mask is also a theological symbol, though we may not understand it as deeply as we experience it right now.
Wearing this little piece of cloth reminds us that we are interdependent: the well-being of one is tied to the well-being of another. Dr. King referred to this when he said that we are “tied in a single garment of destiny. What affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Maybe that garment looks like a face mask.
This is the way God created us to be: connected.
Will the inconvenience of having to wear a mask daily make us more compassionate toward our neighbors? Will it lead us to “see” the connection to our neighbors as part of what we need to make our own lives more whole?
We use the word sacrament to describe “an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible grace.” Could something as ordinary as a face mask be sacramental? Could it be “an outward and visible sign of the inward and invisible grace” of God made manifest in our love and sacrifice for one another? I hope so.
A special note:
We received news from the Dewitt family that Ruth passed away last night (Fri). Earl and Ruth Dewitt are long-time members of Lake Burien Presbyterian Church. We are deeply saddened by this news and profoundly grateful for Ruth’s life and service to God here at Lake B. She faithfully planned and led the Thursday morning women’s Bible study for many years. Earl wanted all of you to know of Ruth’s passing and he thanks all those who have been praying for them during this time. He also appreciates continued prayers for him and their family as they grieve.