“God could easily give you grain and fruit without your plowing and planting. But He does not want to do so. . . . What else is all our work to God—whether in the fields, in the garden, in the city, in the house, in war, or in government—but just such a child’s performance, by which He wants to give His gifts in the fields, at home, and everywhere else? These are the masks of God, behind which He wants to remain concealed and do all things.” ~ Martin Luther
I have been writing and thinking about masks this week.
There are so many psychologists and philosophers who teach of our tendencies to hide behind them. Carl Jung’s concepts of individuation revolve around the integration of false and true self. Masks are the symbol of our hiding, pretending, lies and illusions. I have come to believe that there are sacred disguises…human ones, ones presented in the beauty of nature, ones revealed in stars and sky…which are the Masks of God
Martin Luther understood that God interacts with us and shows himself in countless ways beyond our understanding. G. K. Chesterton wrote a verse about the ‘million masks of God’. Joseph Campbell told Bill Moyers that the images of God are many. He called them the masks of eternity that both cover and reveal the Face of Glory. I think this is at the heart of our existence and the center of an experience of being God’s Beloved Child.
God shows up. I have seen him in the eyes of men and women in a homeless shelter in Asheville. I have been touched by him on the waiting wall by street kids in Fort Lauderdale. I have heard his cry in the voices of those who suffer addictive illness. God is not a remote deity who waits grumpily on a throne of judgment to pounce on our wrongdoings and many sins.
He not only shows up as a vulnerable and broken savior who willingly dies on a cross, but also beckons us to follow him there. He shows up as ‘angels unawares’ in ancient scripture. He reaches for our steadying hand in the person of our grandchild. When we are told that God is omnipresent, this is what they are talking about.
The masks of God are everywhere. Look around. God show up. He tells us, in the words of the Prodigal Father to his resentful son; “I am with you always. Everything I have is yours.”
Robert Kenneth Jones
Robert Kenneth Jones is an innovator in the treatment of addiction and childhood abuse.
In a career spanning over four decades, his work helping people recover from childhood abuse and addiction has earned him the respect of his peers.
His blog, An Elephant for Breakfast, testifies to the power of the human spirit to overcome the worst of life’s difficulties. We encourage you to visit and share this rich source of healing, inspiration and meditation.
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Bob Jones’ blog An Elephant for Breakfast