At a recent Melrose Interfaith Clergy Association meeting, I was reminded of just how many clergy in Melrose are relatively new to their pulpits. Several began in the midst of the pandemic.
One clergy person lamented how difficult it has been to get to know people only “from the eyes up” because he has never seen his parishioners without masks on!
We wear masks, of course, to keep ourselves and others safe right now but how much of yourself do you “mask over,” hold back, or otherwise “cover over” from others so that people don’t know about that part of yourself?
Most would say it depends on who you are interacting with. The closer you are to someone the more you open up to them. The more distant you are, the more you share only the surface of things.
That may make sense when it comes to people, but not so much when it comes to God.
How much do you hold back from God? I would venture to say that most people hold nothing back from God because they aren’t in any sort of relationship with God to begin with. You can’t hold something back from someone if you aren’t interacting with them in the first place!
While masks are necessary for covid, we are invited to figuratively take them off every time we come to worship. In worship, God calls us to be vulnerable enough to share all of who we are with God; the things we’re proud of and celebrate, as well as the things we’re ashamed of and would rather forget.
We cannot grow in our faith when we hide ourselves behind the presumed anonymity of social and spiritual masks that say “everything’s great!” or “no problems here!”
In Christ we hear a call to set those masks aside and be authentically ourselves before God. We needn’t fear that we will be judged (we do enough of that ourselves!). Instead, we should expect acceptance of who we are and encouragement to evolve and grow. We should expect a renewal of strength, a nudge to be better, and a reminder of the love that envelopes us.
God doesn’t want to know us only “from the eyes up.” God wants to know us and indeed accepts us in the fullness of who we are; the beauty as well as the blemishes.
See you in church,