It’s the morning after. Masks are down. Costumes on the floor. Decorations will come down later today and be packed away in the “Halloween” box for another year. The only inclinations of what went on last night are the candy wrappers in the street that eluded our brooms trying to clean up in the darkness last night.
We played like we were something else for a while but in the morning we are just us. For some, that’s a relief; for others it’s a disappointment. For everyone it’s business as usual, and business as usual for most of us includes replacing the Halloween mask with something more subtle, but it’s still a mask, and it’s still hiding something.
We all have something to hide. This goes without saying. We all have things about ourselves we don’t want everyone knowing, but if God is going to show up in our lives, we have to run that risk. God will most certainly not be seen when we mask our lives in any way. When we hide ourselves, we hide Him. We are the temple in which God dwells now. The holy of holies is in us and the veil has already been torn in two signifying all have access to God. That is, unless we don’t let anyone in because of what they might see.
One of our readers who volunteers with the youth group at his church wrote the following after reading yesterday’s Catch:
Last year in the youth department in our church, we had a curriculum that had the kids in the various groups share their testimony. Out of 18 kids 2 were suffering the aftermath of their parents’ divorce, 2 had attempted suicide, 2 cut themselves, 1 had nearly lost everything because of procrastination, others loved money more than God, and so on. There were even those who had lived a rather uneventful life i.e., Christian home, Christian school, and no traumatic events to report. [That sounds like some masks didn’t come off. I would like to meet the teenagers who have “no traumatic events to report.”]
Our reader goes on to say, The unmasking of this veil of deception revealed that God was present in everyone’s life. They testified He was with them all the time. Interestingly this was only seen once they were unmasked and shared their true testimony.
Which is the point I want to make this morning. God cannot be revealed in anyone’s life who lives masked. When we hide behind a false impression, we are also hiding God and excusing ourselves from ministry.
It’s the morning after. When one mask comes off, let’s not rush to pick up another. There is a freedom to living unmasked, and there is a power that is unleashed because of Christ’s real love and acceptance of us as we are, not as we should be. This revealing of himself is unpredictable. It’s something we cannot control. We can only control living unveiled lives. We can control truth-telling. And like the kids in this youth group, we can find that God meets us in the middle of our real lives.
Halloween on Oak Street is now officially a community event in Laguna Beach. Someone came by with more candy from the city last night just when I was running out, and this morning, the street cleaner cleared our street, as did a couple city workers spearing candy wrappers on my lawn. When your street turns into a theme park once a year, it’s nice to know you have outside help.
When your life becomes an open book, it’s then that you discover you are not doing this alone. It’s not all up to us, thank goodness. Like the city showed up for me this morning, to clean up my mess, God shows up for you, today, but you won’t even know it unless you leave that mask in the jar by the door and walk out unveiled. The choice is yours.