Like many of you, I am wearing a mask in public places during the pandemic. I am not doing this as a political statement or because of fear, but as a way of embodying Philippians 2:3-4. “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”
How does wearing a mask during this pandemic place the interests of others first? Much of the advice offered by healthcare providers and researchers describes how we can protect ourselves from being exposed to the coronavirus. These important precautions include regular hand washings, disinfecting frequently used surfaces and social distancing.
Wearing a mask is different in that it protects others in the event that we are among the many people unknowingly infected with COVID-19. Research indicates that approximately 25%-50% of the persons who test positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic carriers and potential transmitters of the disease). https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2020/06/11/transmission
Dr. Neil Lamb, faculty investigator and Vice President for Educational Outreach at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, is a longtime United Methodist. In a video posted on the North Alabama Conference website a couple of months ago, he describes how wearing a mask is a way to show Christ’s care for others, especially the most vulnerable. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaBz3U-jxPQ&feature=youtu.be
As COVID-19 continues to spike in Alabama, I encourage all United Methodists to wear a mask when in public. In addition to mitigating the spread of the coronavirus, it is a way to live out the Christian principle of putting others ahead of ourselves.
As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference