Tomorrow (24 July 2020) is the day when the UK government is making face masks mandatory in shops in England and strongly encouraging them in enclosed spaces (including churches).
For some in the UK, and perhaps more so in the USA, this represents an infringement of liberty. It is also extremely inconvenient and uncomfortable. Last Sunday our church reopened services for the first time, and it was very disconcerting preaching to people wearing masks. Before lockdown, I was used to seeing people’s facial expressions as I preached (which can be good or bad). It was difficult not seeing the whole face.
Another area of concern and contention, is the guidance issued to churches about our services. The guidance tells us that we should not sing! Again, this was very hard last week and, the most recent indications from government officials suggest that this restriction will be in place for some time.
With these things going on, I found this article by Keith Mathison extremely helpful. It is a long read, but it is also a very good read. It is scriptural and it also engages with the Westminster Standards.
One more thought (also mentioned in the article), what we are being asked to do as Christians in the UK, which is intended to be for the good of our nations citizens by restricting the spread of the virus, is an inconvenience but it is not persecution. Wearing a mask in church and having to “sing” with our hearts and minds is nothing compared to the sufferings of Christian brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world.
Let’s be thankful for our freedoms, thankful for our government (whether we agree with them or not), and prayerful for the suffering church.