Who Was that Masked Man?
My college roommate, Bruce, used to tell a story about Clayton Moore, who played the Lone Ranger on TV when I was so young that I would sit cross-legged in front of the screen until my grandmother would pick me up by the ear and move me further back. Moore, retired from the TV show, moved to Golden Valley, MN and became a real estate agent (true) and continued to adhere to his “Lone Ranger Creed” (also true) which I will get to in a moment. Bruce’s story (maybe true) was this: A business near Moore’s Ranger Realty office was robbed and the person there was tied up and left on the floor. Before the police arrived, a man rushed in and untied them and before he left, said. “You’ve just been rescued by the Lone Ranger!”
Now that I have your attention, I want to tell you my own masked man story. It is about how I don’t get out much lately but when I do, being in that “vulnerable” category who contract 5% of the COVID cases but are accountable for 34% of the COVID deaths, I wear a mask. My story – I guess it is more of an observation, is this: Whenever I enter a business, other than the very few that require all customers to wear a mask, I find that, other than the employees who are either all wearing masks, or none of them are, I am either the only customer wearing a mask, or I can count the other mask-wearing customers on the fingers of one hand. I am sorry but this scares me. Are these unmasked people ignorant or confused by mixed messages of pandemic protocol, making a political statement, or just arrived from another planet?
In his just-published book God and the Pandemic, Anglican Biblical scholar N. T. Wright says, “There hasn’t been a moment like this in my lifetime. It is taking its toll not only in many thousands of deaths, but in the stress and distress of millions who are shut in without company or help…or losing jobs or livelihoods, or simply those whose temperament plunges them into gloom…We all know that. So where should the church be in the middle of it”
Where indeed! Wright says also, “The COVID-19 crisis has, in fact, done to the whole world what Hurricane Katrina did in 2005 for New Orleans: in its devastating impact, it shows that the political and social timbers have already been rotting away.”
Another book that has great relevance for us today is Jim Wallis’s America’s Original Sin, his challenge to us to name our own racism and our own white privilege, and to proclaim that the timbers of political and social cover-up and denial have rotted away there as well, to the point where Minnesota’s – and St. Cloud’s – pent-up cry for reform cannot be denied any longer.
Now, here’s your takeaway – Please open your heart and your mind along with other St. John’s members and friends, wherever you may be located right now, and join our upcoming Zoom Meeting discussion groups – Wright’s book on at 9am June 14 (this Sunday!) and 21, and Wallis’s book starting on June 28 (a great summer read). Details are elsewhere in today’s eNews. And please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know that you will be joining us to share your own thoughts and feelings about the church’s place in these critical conversations! I will then send you the meeting links. We need you!
And now, as promised, The Lone Ranger Creed (with apologies for gender incorrectness – this was the 50’s) –
“I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one. That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world. That God put the firewood there but that every man must gather and light it himself. In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right. That a man should make the most of what equipment he has. That ‘This government, of the people, by the people and for the people’ shall live always. That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number. That sooner or later … somewhere … somehow … we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken. That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever. In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.”
Have a Blessed Week,