Musings on my Mask

Masks are here to stay for a while longer I fear, and I have a love/hate relationship with mine.

I was actually so happy to wear it when I broke a front tooth and had to wait a few days before the dentist could pretty me up, and it was great at covering the spot that erupted on my nose. Then in the winter I didn’t mind it keeping my face warm when a chilly wind was blowing. Of course, my mask is not really about me. The purpose is to hinder the transmission of the virus, so I guess I’ll keep wearing it as long as it’s considered necessary to help keep others safe.

Medical Masks

According to the Venetian merchant explorer Marco Polo, way back in the 13th century during the Yuan Dynasty, servants wore silk scarves over their mouths and noses, so that their breath wouldn’t contaminate the food they served to the emperor and his entourage.

Face coverings have been used universally at times of plague to stop the spread of infection, and when surgical masks were introduced in operating theatres it was in response to advances in microbiology, an understanding of airborne bacteria and the importance of personal hygiene.

Theatrical Masks

Now, just because I’m willing to wear my mask, it doesn’t mean I like it. When faces are covered I don’t easily recognise people – especially if my glasses are steamed up, and I don’t hear properly what’s being said. Most importantly I can’t read emotions.

Interestingly, the purpose of the other kind of theatre mask, of drama not surgery, was to make emotions clearer. In Ancient Greece the audience was often at a distance from the stage, and couldn’t easily see the actors. Plays were either comedies or tragedies and the masks were used to accentuate the mood.

Wearing a Mask

The word ‘hypocrisy’ comes from Greek and literally means ‘play acting’. Jesus often berated the Pharisees and religious people for their pretence, claiming moral standards or beliefs that didn’t match their behaviour.

One of my greatest hypocrisies is my reluctance to be true to my understanding of Scripture. I often wear the wrong ‘face’. I emphasise God’s love and welcome to all who will believe, yet I neglect to add the warning of condemnation that lies upon those who won’t (John 3:16-18). I fail to communicate any sense of urgency, though I believe in the fallenness of mankind and the seriousness of separation from God both now and for eternity.

I’ll keep musing on my spiritual mask, how I’ve made it about my protection instead of the safety of others. I want to be liked and am terrified of causing offence. But it’s not about me, it’s about the transmission of a full gospel message that can save others – a message we want to go viral!

4 thoughts on “Musings on my Mask

  1. Thinking Thinking my mask sometimes slips. Reminds me it can never completely cover!
    Adam and Eve couldn’t remain hidden behind their fig leaf. Just wonder how much adjustment they tried to make to keep their concealment? Alas it didn’t work.
    I love writing that encourages me to think most grateful.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Lenna. Thinking about my thinking I think I need to rethink my word “Alas”
    Thinking maybe Adam and Eve initially thought alas also but on rethinking they may
    have had another thought?

    Liked by 1 person

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