“You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love.”
– Galatians 5:13
My children have always loved dressing up in costumes. Our drawers and closets full of costumes for years. We didn’t just dress up for Halloween; trips to the grocery store, a walk to the playground and even school pictures all were occasions for the costumes to come out.
As children, costumes and dress up clothes allowed us to live out our greatest fantasies and our wildest dreams. We could be anyone we wanted to be just by putting on a new hat, an elaborate dress or a too-big shirt. Our costumes were aspirational – they signaled who we wanted to be or traits we wanted to project to the outside world.
Children wear costumes and masks as a sign of the freedom of childhood to explore and discover. As we grow, however, we really don’t take off our costumes and our masks. Instead, our masks change; now they become restricting and oppressive. As adults, our masks look like confidence, even when we are filled with self-doubt. Or we put on the mask of marital happiness, even when we are more lonely in our marriage than we were when single. Or we wear the costume of “I’m fine! How are you?” when secretly our addiction is crushing us. Or we dress up in armor that won’t let intimacy or love breakthrough because the risk of being hurt again is too much to bear.
As a pastor, I talk to folks about church all the time! And do you know what they say? They say, “I can’t go to church; my life is too messed up.” “I haven’t been to church since my divorce; I can’t stand to think what people would say about me.” “Oh, I have too many questions to ever go to church. What if someone asks me what I really believe?”
In other words, people feel that they must wear their costumes and their masks all the time, even to a place that should feel sacred and holy and open and free. They are afraid that if they removed their dress-up clothes, no one will accept them as they are.
At Two Rivers Church, we are a place where no one needs to wear a mask. One of our core values is embracing the courage to be vulnerable. God loves us as we are – we don’t have to pretend in front of The Divine. We are creating a space to worship, a space to question, a space to explore, a space to believe – a space where we can enter as our full and complete selves, vulnerable and open, ready to embrace our freedom to love.
At Two Rivers, we welcome all of you – just as you are. The only time you’ll find us wearing masks is to a Halloween party. We want to see and embrace the real you.