Removing the Mask and Finding Grace

Jesus isn't fooled by our masks...and doesn't need to be.Every Halloween, I would disguise myself as someone who’s got it together.

I would watch as everyone donned costumes of fairies or vampires or Jedi (it seems to have been mostly Jedi the last two years) and pounded the rainy ground on October 31. They’d walk along the dark, gridded streets, collecting energy pills like a breezy outdoor Pac-Man game, and I thought those were their masks.

Before that, I’d come to church and sit amongst everything I am trying to become. Wise, selfless, surrendered believers. Countryside middle-classers. Leaders who understand how to influence people, how to get stuff done in a community. Couples in the glow of early parenthood who somehow show up to service perfectly coiffed and groomed despite the tribe hanging off their arms. Older families who have already raised their tribes into true-blue adult disciples (a more mammoth task every decade). Decent, hardworking folks who seem to be doing just fine.

And I’d think they were the unmasked. Nothing to hide, no need to hide.

And, by extension, I’d assume that I wasn’t cutting it. How could I be, since they were accomplishing so much more than I?

Then a funny thing happened: I got older. Over the course of time, I got to know these people better. And they did this amazing thing, something far harder than anything I’ve mentioned.

They started removing their masks. Continue reading