Today is Election Day and perhaps there is nothing better than the election to make my point today. For months now we have had the politicians running for president making statements like this. “Elect me as your President and I will provide jobs for everyone, prosperity for all, and global world peace.” Wouldn’t you just once love a person running for President, to say something like this? “I want to be you President. My life has not been perfect. I have made past mistakes, but I have learned from them and If elected I promise to do my human best.
I promise you I will pray daily and that I believe in God and I will seek His guidance in my decisions and I will strive in all that I do to see that everyone is treated as I would also want to be treated. I am not capable of solving all the ills of our nation or of the world. I can only tell you that I will give it my all and that by the end of my term I hope that the world will be a better place because of my efforts.” Wouldn’t that type of truthfulness be a breath of fresh air? It would be nice if politicians could just take their masks off and be real. But what about us…..it would be great if all of us could take our masks off and be real too.
As I have written about before, it was just over a year ago that I made an eight day silent retreat. And for the past year the theme that God put on my heart of shedding our masks and being real has made its way into several of my 4thdayletters. Next Tuesday, November 13th I will be on day two of yet another 8 day silent retreat. So I think it is fitting to write this last email before my retreat as yet one more attempt to convey the importance of what I heard in my heart in the silence last year and that is, we all need to be real.
In an article in the National Catholic Register author Melinda Selmys says this:
“Welcome to the world. Its primary cultural product, perhaps always, perhaps especially in the age of consumer capitalism, is the lie. Not any lie in particular, but a multiplicity of lies: the subtle lies found in the subtext of slick advertisements; the tacky lies plastered across the front pages of supermarket tabloids; the astonishingly bold lies that are peddled as “news” on network broadcasts.”
She goes on later in the article to say: “People are numb to such claims because they have heard them used too many times to sell everything from laundry soap to presidential candidates. The truth that is presented to the ironic postmodern world must be a truth that authenticates itself by the manner of its telling. It must be personal, subjective and deeply honest.”
And as she wraps up her points she makes this statement: “Postmodern people are not moved by good examples. They are suspicious of those who claim to be holy, healthy, healed – because it is everyone’s experience that the brokenness and the fear, the hurt and the doubt goes on, even after the altar call.
Christians must, therefore, risk being honest about what it is actually like to wrestle with virtue, to suffer with Christ, to persevere against sin.” You can click here to read her entire article.
A lot has changed in my life in the year since God put it on my heart to be vulnerable, open and honest. There is a saying that goes something like this: none of us are as good as everyone else thinks we are, and we are not as bad as we think ourselves to be.
In the extraordinarily successful play, Phantom of the Opera the song “Masquerade” contains these words:
Maquerade! Paper faces on paradeMasquerade! Hide your face so the world will never find youMasquerade! Every face a different shadeMasquerade! Look around, there’s another mask behind you.
So what is it that keeps us hiding behind a mask? Usually Satan uses pride and fear to force us to hide. Let me just be clear, you are not alone. Everyone is a sinner. We all trip up. Our churches should be a safe place for sinners to gather. They should be a place where we can admit that we cannot make it on our own without the help of our Savior. But that is often not the case. The result of so many people wearing false masks is that some in church are left to feel as if they are the only sinners. Look at these words from the song Stained Glass Masquerade by the group Casting Crowns:
Is there anyone that failsIs there anyone that fallsAm I the only one in church today feelin’ so small
PLEASE CLICK HERE You won’t want to miss this song
As a result of the message God put on my heart last year in the silence, I did just what I am asking you to do, I prayed and then I took a risk, and I made myself vulnerable. I found others in my weekly Friendship Group Reunion and I opened up to them and told them of my struggles on my Christian journey. I revealed that I am far from perfect, yet I am a person seeking Christian perfection. I have admitted that I need God’s grace and help on my journey and I need the prayers of my Christian friends. I suspect this is your story too. Be bold! Be Vulnerable. Admit your challenges and struggles. I feel the light of Christ is stronger in my life today more so than any other time in my life and I am sure you will too when you take your mask off and the masquerade is over.
God give me the courage to admit my weaknesses. Guide me to others in my life that I can be open and honest with and take my mask off and allow the warmth of your light to reach all of the broken areas of my soul. Amen!