(taken from History.com)
This Wednesday, everyone will be celebrating Halloween or All Saint’s Eve. Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1.
The day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death.
Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31st, they celebrated Samhain (sow-in), when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.
In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes.
When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.
So, this Wednesday, people will dress-up in their scary, sometime comical, costumes and become an entirely different person than who they actually are.
Why the Masks?
Have you ever noticed the change in people when they don the costumes? Sometimes, the meekest of people become scary, powerful and awe-inspiring as they assume a totally different role other than how they are normally known.
Are they hiding, or are they revealing their true self? Something to think about really. Why do we change when we cover or disguise our face?
I’m a friend of the owners who created Enigma-Haunt, in Boca. They’re Halloween “fanatics,” in a sense, as they love creating this scary environment every year. Each year that passes, I hear the actors and actresses get scarier, more creative and give a better performance than they did the previous year.
I also know one of the actresses and, by day, she is a mild-mannered young woman with an office job that stays pretty much to herself with not much of a social life. When she dresses-up in her costume, hiding her true identity, she becomes this monstrous creature that scares the living daylights out of all she encounters.
I’ve got to be honest with you. When I first came here, I was wearing my own mask. I believe it was that I was afraid of revealing who I truly was, just so I might “fit-in” with everyone in attendance. As the months went by, and I saw the acceptance of others, I removed my mask.
I’ve watched others here. I’ve watched each and every one of you. It’s just something I do and something my Mother handed down to me as a young boy. My Mom was the type of woman that could sit on a park bench all day, watch the people and, when she was ready to leave, could give a detailed account of who she believed each of them were.
I can tell you honestly. Many of you have changed. Many of you have removed your masks. I see the differences in you. I won’t be specific as I don’t want to embarrass anyone and force you to put your mask back on but, I’m in awe over some of the changes I’ve seen right here in our little Chapel and, most of all, so proud!
Masks in The Bible
The Bible tells us very clearly to be aware of those that wear masks. Maybe not necessarily a physical costume per se but, nonetheless, a disguise.
Now here is the best example I can think of about those who wear masks. Clearly, the devil hides his true identity from all of us as he tries to deceive us.
2 Corinthians 11:14 – “For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Can you think of a better example of someone portraying someone they aren’t, most definitely not? How many times have you been deceived by someone pretending to be someone they aren’t? This is how the devil himself, tears at our souls.
The Bible also warns us of false prophets… the people who will pretend they know things most-holy only to deceive you and take things from you that God has given.
Matthew 7:15 – “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
When you suspect a false prophet, John tells us what to do…
1 John 4:1 – “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone into the world.”
“Test them.” Watch what they do, what they say and what they’re truly trying to get you to do.
I’ll even talk about some of the evangelists that you see or hear of. Have you ever listened to one that had you all wrapped-up in their words? After you’ve opened your heart, you then hear: “And for just a small donation of $59.99, you too, can experience the glory of our Lord with our ‘Walking with Jesus’ guide to His ministry.” I don’t know about you, but my Bible is all the guide I need for my inspiration.
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t want you to believe that every television evangelist is a false prophet as many of them are legitimately close to God and preach the Good Word.
The Apostle Paul in his epistle to “the church of God” which is at Corinth, told us not to wear our masks.
2 Corinthians 4:2 – “We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.”
You see? We have no reasons to wear masks. Everything we say or do should be openly, as God has taught us.
Why do we Still Wear Masks?
So, let’s admit it, we all still do wear our masks at one time or another. But why?
- Afraid of Being Exposed – Perhaps we’re not really who we pretend to be, and we’re frightened that we might be exposed.
- Afraid of Rejection – Maybe we believe we’re not as strong as we truly are, so we put up a front which we believe will make people accept us more readily.
- Afraid of Being Hurt – I’ve been here, haven’t you? So many times, we’ve given of ourselves, only to be let down, hurt and beaten-down leaving scars on our hearts.
There are so many reasons in this world why we may still wear masks but, as Brothers and Sisters in Christ and children of the Most-High God, the example has been set for us!
Our Role Model
Thanks be to God, the Father sent Jesus to be our role model and to give us hope and help when we struggle with masks. In the Bible it says that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, but never sinned. So, Jesus was tempted to wear masks, but He didn’t. He was Himself all of the time.
- When Jesus was sad, he cried. He didn’t wear the masks of being a tough guy who doesn’t cry. John 11:35 – “Jesus wept.”
- When Jesus was happy, he laughed and smiled. He went to parties and was not afraid to have a good time. (John 2:1-11) This is where Jesus was at the party in Cana and changed the water into wine.
- When Jesus was scared, He prayed. He knew He needed help and was willing to ask His Father in heaven for help. (Matthew 26:36) This is where Jesus was in Gethsemane, frightened, and He asked His disciples to “Sit here while I go and pray.”
- When Jesus needed others, He asked His friends for help. He knew He needed other people, too. (Matthew 26:38) Where Jesus said to His disciples “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
You see, Jesus never wore masks. So, He can help us to resist temptation to wear masks. When you struggle with masks, ask for Jesus to help you. He will. One of your regular prayers should be “Jesus, make me into the person that you created me to be.”
I have my role model. I know the way God has commanded me to be. So, when asked how I will lead my life…
- I am a Child of the most-high God – I am protected from evil… not as much of this world but from all the demons that surround me.
- I am a Brother to the King-of-Kings – He has taught me the ways I should be, the way I should Love and the way I should forgive.
- If you ask for my hand – I will reach out with both.
- If you are thirsty – I will give you drink.
- If you are hungry – I will share all that I have.
- If you are sad – I will cry with you and hold you tightly until your tears have gone.
- If you are happy – I will celebrate your joy.
- If you believe with me – I will Love you as Jesus has taught me and be there whenever you need me.
- I am a man – Be advised that my kindness should not be considered a weakness, but a great strength. My God has given me the courage of a lion. Should you choose to do battle with my family, my brothers and sisters in Christ in away way… I will fight with a wrath you have never seen before until peace is once again with all I love.
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This Wednesday, go and celebrate as the ancient Celtics did 2,000 years ago. Have fun and enjoy the company of friends and family. Wear your costumes and revel in the activities.
When all is said and done, return to who you are; Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Remove your masks and bare your heart for all to see.
Don’t hide the joy you receive from our Lord but, instead, expose your gladness at being children of God. Let others see how much you are Loved and how much you return the Love given to you.
Make our God prouder than He already is with you simply by being yourself, celebrating your fellowship every day, giving thanks and sharing your knowledge of the things you’ve been taught that others might be able to have the same promise of eternal life in Heaven.
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless (Amen)