Monday Morning Musings is a hodgepodge of contemplations as I begin a new week. Check-in on Monday morning to receive a myriad of thoughts from my vapid brain.
COVID Changed Everything
The human response to COVID is as varied as a Jackson Pollock painting. Some people who were not thought to be predisposed to fear took up residence in the apocalyptic bunker room. Other people who battle fear and anxiety took COVID in stride. There have been COVID deniers and COVID suppliers. COVID has also reshaped our governments. Due to the government’s response to COVID, new opinions on the role of government were created, while other views were reinforced. What can’t be denied is that since the beginning of COVID, the scope and scale of the federal and several state governments have increased. Some people want a big federal government; others, like myself, prefer limitations on the powers of government, especially at the federal level.
Do you want to know what increased at a quicker pace than the size of the federal government? Virtue Signaling. And the needless amount of virtue signaling has contributed to the fractures in our society. During COVID, there were no more extraordinary means to virtue signal than with a mask. Now, not everyone who wore a mask was virtue signaling. But there came a point where the only reason a person was wearing a mask was to make a point. You did not need to wear a mask if you were biking OUTSIDE by yourself. If you were driving your car and were by yourself, you did not need to wear a mask. If you were on a Zoom call, you did not need to wear a mask. The virtual signaling from various news outlets, social media feeds, and politicians was deafening. The virtue signaling also revealed the deep hypocrisy of many politicians and news outlets. The mask was worn when the camera was on. However, when the lights went down, fresh air was once again consumed. But virtue signaling also came from the anti-mask lobby.
Now, not everyone who refused to wear a mask was virtue signaling. Instead, personal health issues and principles guided the conscience of many people who refused to wear a mask. But I can’t escape the idea that a guy with a handlebar mustache would make a point by walking into a grocery store where everyone was all masked up. He was ready to rumble if anyone told him what he should put on his face. This is also virtue signaling. Admittedly, I did not see as much of this nonsense as I did on the other side, but let’s call a spade a spade.
Here is the bottom line: If you have principal reasons to wear a mask, then you are free to wear a mask until Jesus returns. If your motive to wear a mask is to make a point, then you are virtue signaling. Likewise, if you have principal reasons not to wear a mask, then great. However, if you desire to attend the “masks only family reunion” but you want to make a point by not wearing a mask, you are also virtue signaling.
All You Need is (God’s) Love
On Sunday, I preached on the love of Christ from Ephesians 3:14-19. My “big idea” is that it’s the love of Christ that spiritually strengthens Christians. I have a few more reflections after my study and sermon.
At my most recent midweek Community Group it was suggested I try to define the love of God in preparation for preaching on the love of God. So I gave it my best shot. Here is what I said: God is love (1 John 4:16). And God’s love is perfect and pure. The love of God is most clearly displayed through the life, death, and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. The self-sacrificial love of Christ was on display at the cross. The same love now operates in the life of Christ’s disciples through the work of the Holy Spirit.
More can be said about the love of God. For example, the love of God is connected to the attributes of grace, mercy, and justice. But here, in my working definition, I aim to show how the purity of God’s love is connected to God’s elect. What connects the love of the Triune God and the people of God is the sacrificial death of Christ at the cross. Ponder for a moment the magnitude of the love of Christ. The love of Christ dwells within every follower of Jesus Christ. Here is Ephesians 3:17-19.
I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.– Ephesians 3:17–19
Remarkably, the pure love of God is now within you, Christian. You are filled with the fulness of God because of the love of God. How does this truth change your marriage, parenting, how you interact with your co-workers, and change your perspective on topics like COVID and politics? Here is John Calvin’s on love from Ephesians 3.
Paul explains what the strength of the inner being is like. Because the Father has given the fullness of every gift to Christ, the person who has Christ dwelling inside him can lack nothing…The fruit of Christ’s indwelling is love. This is the true and substantial virtue of the soul.… Many people are touched by love, but it soon fades away because it lacks deep roots. Paul wants it to be fixed in our minds, so that it will resemble a well-founded building or a deeply rooted tree. We ought to be so thoroughly grounded in love that nothing will be able to shake us.– John Calvin, Commentary on Ephesians
Suffice it to say, the abiding love of Christ is a game-changer.