Masks...



In a few weeks time Sally and I are heading over to London for a bit of a break and while we’re there we hope to take in an exhibition in the British Museum on the Egyptian Book of the Dead… It may sound a bit dull or maybe even slightly creepy, but I am fascinated by Egyptian culture… I was particularly frustrated not to get to see the Tutankhamun exhibits at the O2 in London a couple of years ago… Maybe I’ll just have to arrange a wee trip to Egypt to see them…
The name of Tutankhamun actually means “The living image of [the god] Amon” although it is thought that he actually changed his name from “Tutankhaten” meaning, The Living image of Aten” when there was a religious revolution which meant that Aten, the god of his father, the heretical monotheist Akhenaten, fell out of favour and the older deity Amon became the national god again…
While he was said to be the image of one god or another, it is ironic that we only know what King Tut looks like insofar as his image is reflected in the famous gold funeral mask…
In scripture we are told that human beings are created in the image of God… yet how often do we hide that image behind a mask?
Sometimes it is a physical mask applied with make-up each morning, to hide blemishes or to help us to conform to what the world sees as beautiful or acceptable…
More often it is a psychological mask that we apply to stop people seeing how we are really feeling…
I've usually only worn make-up while on stage... (although my dear wife discovered a "Dead Sea Mud Mask for Men in her basket of cosmetics and other potions the other day and suggests that I try it out... It won't be any day soon) but the actors in the ancient world wore masks rather than make-up... And got the name "hypocrite" or mask-wearer. Jesus gave that term another meaning when he applied it to Pharisees who went through the motions of religion without any reality behind it... Because of that I've always been wary of being seen as an actor playing a part when leading worship or working with people in pastoral difficulties. I try to abide be the old computing principle of WYSIWYG... what you see is what you get... But even in computing that is a fraud, because behind what you see is a whole other world of computer coding and programming that creates the illusion of simplicity. And behind our public face there is always much more going on that most people see... Sometimes, for our own safety and sanity, and to prevent how we are feeling from getting in the way of us helping others, the masks we wear are more elaborate and all encompassing than at other times.


But whatever mask we wear, for whatever reason, let's remember that God sees behind the mask… He wants us to know that he loves us just the way we are… But wants to help us to reflect his image more freely and fully…

(An adaptation of one of my Just a Moment's for Downtown this week)
Shalom

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Woman of no Distinction

An Epistle To Our Elected Leaders

A Psalm for Sunday: Praise to the Lord who Listens...