Face Coverings: Less Need for Caution, More Need for Grace
Covid-19 has brought enough sudden changes of a negative nature that I am especially delighted there is finally an unexpected positive change. Last Thursday, the CDC issued new guidance that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear face coverings in most settings. Even better, Governor Inslee declared that Washington state would immediately adopt the recommendations.
In response to this, an announcement was made in the worship services last weekend that the Leadership Team has changed EBC’s policy on face coverings. We confirmed that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks at church. Furthermore, since we have no interest in checking or tracking who has been vaccinated, we are encouraging those who are not vaccinated to decide for themselves what to do as a matter of conscience before the Lord.
I was out of town last weekend tuning in via the livestream and I heard some cheering when the announcement was made. I certainly identify with that sentiment as face coverings are both a nuisance and a hindrance to relationship.
However, while the need for caution has diminished, the need for grace remains great. Our goal through this entire saga has been to maintain unity in our church family. But dissension is the natural result when opinions about masks and vaccines vary so widely. How then can we be united? By remembering the grace we have received in Jesus, says the Apostle Paul, and extending it to our brothers and sisters. Because of Christ, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Phil. 2:4)
In coming weeks, I expect we will get plenty of exercise in extending grace to others. Vaccinated people must not look down on those who do not plan to get the vaccine, and vice versa. Those without face coverings must not internally criticize those still wearing them. And all our people must seek the humility of Jesus as we ask God for protection, healing and for his kingdom to come.