The Revs. Smiths’ Message for July 19, 2020

So we now live under a rule in Toronto that requires us to wear a mask when we are in an indoor public space.  It’s a sensible requirement to help us stay safe in a world still dealing with a pandemic, and one that many people are trying to follow. 

We have noticed that while a mask may keep us safe from the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the face covering makes it hard to read the mood of another person.  Is that a scowl or a smile that I am being offered?  Is the person I’m facing exhausted and world-weary, or filled with energy and enthusiasm?   Sometimes it is hard to tell.

As people that like to offer a smile even to a stranger we pass on the street, or a look of invitation or welcome to someone we meet, it occurred to us that we are going to have to go overboard in our smile to make sure the message is received.  An enthusiastic smile can be read in the eyes — maybe we need to greet others with that kind of expression.

Maybe another approach would be to recognize that if a mask creates a barrier from our neighbour, we could use our voices as well, and reach out by speaking to them an uplifting, positive word.  It may not be much, but the circumstances of the past several months have been tough for many people, and maybe even a small word of greeting or caring could make a big difference.

St. Paul writing to the Thessalonians” (1629) by Dutch painter Jan Lievens (1607–1674); from the collection of the Kunsthalle Bremen; taken from the Wikimedia Commons.

The apostle Paul admonishes the church in Thessalonians to “encourage one another.” (1 Thess. 5:11)  Elsewhere he also calls them to love, build up, care for, honour, and bear the burdens of one another.  Do you think Paul is onto something here?

It’s easy, it won’t cost us a cent and it is grounded in the foundations of our faith.  These days of “distancing” call for this behaviour, and we are a perfect group to take it on as a gift of the grace of God that we can pass on to another in love.

Revs. Bob and Helen Smith

This message first appeared in the July 18, 2020, edition of Tidbits.