3. No mask are worn.
This might be the most difficult of the rules because it means “no hypocrites.”
Mean what you say.
Do what you say you will do.
If you say you are a Christian, act like a Christian. Act like a follower of Christ. Live your life as if Christ is living in you.
Christ is living in you. St. Paul says this in Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
It should be easy, then. Jesus Christ lives in me so I should be perfect, right? I don’t have to worry about status or image or any of the other masks that I used to wear.
But it isn’t that easy. Yes, Galatians 2:20 is true. But so is Romans 7:19
For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.
Even though Christ now lives in us, we still sin. It isn’t because Christ’s power is weak, but that we are still not in heaven – the only place there will not be sin. We have the power to overcome sin – which comes from Christ.
But sometimes we put the masks back on. We’re ashamed of the power that sin has over our lives but don’t plug into the power of Christ that lives in us.
We also might put the masks on because we are ashamed of Christ living in us. I know that sounds bad and will be easy to deny for a Christ-follower.
But it is true sometimes. As a Christian, we know what the right thing to do is – turn off the TV show that glorifies promiscuity with scantily-clothed people. But we don’t. We know that it is the right thing to do to forgive someone who has hurt us. But we don’t. We know that it is the right thing to do to speak well of our neighbor. But we don’t.
These are also masks that we put on – covering up Christ who lives in us.
And wearing masks is tedious . Wearing masks is exhausting. Wearing masks is not fun.
Wearing masks can seem like a better option for us, instead of living the open life of a Christian. The open life of a Christian will draw fire, draw persecution, draw attention to us that we would rather not deal with. Wearing a mask makes you fit in with the crowd, it can be inconspicuous.
But it isn’t real. And we are to live real lives. In the end its the easiest life to live because you don’t have to constantly worry that your mask will slip. Living a real life is living the truth. Wearing a mask is living a lie.
If you are going to live a lie, you have to work hard keeping the lie going and you also have to remember the lie to keep it consistent.
Living the truth means you don’t have to worry about remembering, you simply live.
Church is a place to find rest and refuge. Check your masks at the door. Be yourself and breathe freely again.
Church is place where no masks are allowed. Only people – real people with real feelings. And Christ welcomes you with open arms. And Christians welcome you with open arms.