The Masks We Wear

Image by Willfried Wende from Pixabay

Years from now we will look back on this era with dismay. For one thing, it was the time of wearing masks. We will find a collection of masks we wore, stored away as symbolic artifacts of a strange time. Nothing new, actually – human beings have always worn masks – and always will –  Experts say there are seven human emotions that have very clear facial signals – anger, sadness, fear, surprise, disgust, contempt, and happiness.  Each has a mask form, with variations – and we are not very aware of the masks we are wearing – only the ones we are perceiving. ~~~ Robert Fulghum Journal (7-17-20) at

Are you tired of wearing masks, yet?  I hear you complaining, sometimes in the grocery store and on line in the post office.  They’re kind of a pain … I get that.  But we’re protecting the people around us, so we do it. You’re protecting me, and I’m protecting you.  It’s the right thing to do.  And … if Robert Fulghum is right in his conclusion about human life, we have been doing this a long time.  The only difference is that the masks we use now are made of fabric, or a non-woven material, or clear plastic … or your tee-shirt pulled up over your nose when you forget to put a mask in your car.

But we have been wearing masks since the dawn of time.  Those pursed lips through which you say “that’s great” to your neighbor when he talks about how hard it is to work from home, all the while thinking he’s secretly playing Fortnite all day long.  That over-extended smile you offer, when the lady in front of you in line at the store, coughs in your face, while assuring you that she knows she doesn’t have Covid.  The clenched jaw you put on, when your neighbor’s Covid-adoption Rottweiler rescue dog, looks at you with hungry eyes that are not masked as he strains his leash to the breaking point … all of which makes it crystal clear why he was a rescue dog.  Yeah, we all have masks we don’t have to put on, because they are with us always, hovering just below the surface of our eyes, nose and lips, for the perfect moment when we choose to reveal them.

It is part of being human, right?  It is part of the social contract we adopt when we become sentient beings and accept control over the spirit we bring to the relationships in life.  Just know that you can never fool God with a mask … neither one made out of your old pillow case, or one made out of your guilt and shame.  Acknowledge in your prayers, or your candid conversations with those you trust, or simply to yourself … that God always sees the real you through your mask.  And even when what hides behind your mask is not very flattering or kind … God loves you anyway.  And in that love, God strives to equip you with strength and trust in God’s love for you, that you might find the courage to leave those non-Covid masks on the table of your broken life, so that you can face God and your sisters and brothers in Christ, with the face of grace and joy and beauty that God has personally woven for you on the day of your birth.  It is that mask that makes you a beloved child of God.

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Rev. Craig Ross

Senior Pastor

The vibrancy of life here at St. Peter’s makes my service on our staff a joy and privilege. Visitation, teaching and preaching are the ministries that feed my pastoral identity, as together our staff and lay members share in our missional calling … Building a community of faith by God’s grace.

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