Be like Asa

We continue to be impressed, and by “impressed” we mean “disappointed,” in the number of people wandering around out there who aren’t wearing a mask.

Saturday was a lovely day, just great weather, a good day to be outside, a good day to run errands, a good day to be out of the house. It was the same day Gov. Asa Hutchinson held a press conference, a near-daily event as he brought the press up to date on the status of the COVID-19 response in the state.

He arrived, as always, wearing a mask, taking it off to speak at the podium. It began, as it always does, with some story about the mask he was wearing that day, where it came from and what was its significance.

And then, and pay attention here, he said: “These are the days where its tempting to say ‘Well everything’s back to normal, we don’t have to worry about anything.’”

He continued: “The virus does not take any days off. The virus is still out there, there’s still cases being developed. ... So it is important even in these beautiful days while we’re out engaging, you’ve got to remember we’re still dealing with this pandemic. We still want to be on the safe side, we still want – as we’ve been encouraged – to wear our masks, as well as to socially distance.”

Hutchinson was joined, as always at these daily briefings, by Dr. Nate Smith. Smith is the secretary of health for the state and, as it so happens, an internationally recognized expert in viral diseases and its spread. (Arkansas was, is, fortunate, blessed even, to have someone like this at the Department of Health as this all came crashing down.)

Smith, like Hutchinson, arrived wearing a mask.

Let’s put it another way: The two guys in all of Arkansas who spend the most time contemplating the numbers and what they represent, the two guys who have – we have to assume – much better-than-average access to medical care and understanding – are wearing masks.

Yet we move about, we show up in the places, and we, well really you, are not wearing a mask.

We’re not sure where you’re getting your information, or if you skipped over the whole information gathering thing and just went with your gut, but, and we’re making this simple: Wear a mask.

Let’s be clear: We’re not done with this virus. We’re simply not. More to the point, everybody, governors to dish washers, understand the impact this virus is having on the economy. That same everybody understands that with the economy off line things were getting worse by the second. So doors were opened, lights were turned on, and here we go: Things are opening up.

Well good, great, what joy, but – and you’ve got to get this part, you’ve got to – that doesn’t mean the virus isn’t where it was 60 days ago. They’re getting better and picking it out, they’re getting better at tracing it, but they’re not getting better at it infecting people. It still does that, as well and as powerfully as it ever has.

And you, you can either be part of the problem or part of the solution. You can either go running around throwing breath droplets or you keep it to yourself. One way makes the next hit of this virus on the population worse than the other. One way could lead to renewed shutdowns and closures. One way could lead to this thing being a bigger impact on the economy and citizens than it is.

One way you don’t wear a mask; one way you do.

Information, real information, not social- medial posts, is out there to confirm this. Do not be the one who falls prey to confirmation bias. Be an adult. Be smart; put on a mask.

Ephesians 4:17-32 (NIV)

Instructions for Christian Living

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin” Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

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