Prayers for putting on a face mask

My friend from Adelaide called as I was walking into my driveway. ‘Hang on,’ I said, ‘I’ll just take off my face mask.’ There was a slightly stunned silence, then, ‘That doesn’t sound much like you!’ she said. ‘It’s the LAW!’ I replied, and she burst out laughing. She doesn’t have to wear a mask, you see; and she had forgotten that those of us living in Victoria do. For a moment there she had thought I was wearing a mudpack which, to those who know me well, seemed very unlikely indeed.

So yes, we’re still all wearing masks here, and many of us are sick of it, especially as the weather warms up. And I’ve noticed that many of us are therefore looking for excuses and opportunities to take off the mask in public places.

We’ve had prayers for handwashing before now (here and here); but I think we’re well overdue for a prayer or two for wearing a face mask. Here, then, are two, addressing different moods. Perhaps you could stick them up wherever you put your face mask on, to remind yourself that wearing one is an act not only of public health, but of love. It not only reduces the spread of COVID-19, but it tells other people we care enough about them to participate in this massive public health effort, despite our irritation and discomfort.

Loving God,
as I go out into the world,
let this mask be a visible sign
of love for my neighbour.
When my smile is covered,
let my eyes speak love.
When my voice is muffled,
let my actions show love.
When my ears are uncomfortable,
let me listen with love.
When my breath is filtered,
let me breathe out love.
In your loving name I pray: Amen.

Oh God,
when this flimsy piece of cloth
is an irritation and frustration,
when wearing it seems foolish,
when wearing it feels weak,
help me remember
that you choose the foolish, the weak,
the lowly and the despised
according to human standards
to proclaim the message and to accomplish your will.
So let this lowly mask proclaim your love;
let it help accomplish your will
of health and wholeness for all people.
In the name of the despised and rejected one himself:
Jesus Christ, our Lord: Amen.
(1 Cor. 1:21)


Emailed to Sanctuary on 18 November 2020 © Sanctuary, 2020. Image credit: Peri Stojnic on Unsplash.

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