Sunday Church Masks

Ever notice how everyone at church is always smiling? Ever notice how you don’t always want to?

When you walk into church this weekend, if you don’t feel happy then don’t put on a smile. You have my permission. You can even cry if you need to. At church, you’re with family; it’s not about performing. We live in some pretty crazy times, and now more than ever the church needs to become the safest place for all our emotions to encounter Jesus. You’re not attending a costume party, so leave your mask at home. Actually, why don’t we just break those masks and never think about them again?

What’s the point in pretending anyway? God knows what you’re going through, He knows and understands. So take that fake smile (that we’re all guilty of) and turn it into healing tears. There’s no shame in your humanity, it is precisely because you are heartbroken, angry, broke, or lonely that Jesus gave you his life and his family.

Let me admit a pastor’s dirty secret. It’s easier for us when you pretend that you’re happy. It’s less messy. It’s safe and predictable. And in the 90 minutes we get together on Sunday, we “thrive” on safe and predictable. But don’t let us get away with it!

God gave us each other so we could cry, laugh, challenge and honor. For iron to sharpen iron. For strangers to become friends. For enemies to become family. For black and white and blue to gather, forgive, love, and heal. We need you guys to remind us leaders why we congregate together. Remind us that we meet because we all need Jesus; because we are all hungry for love and desperate for connection. We gather because the past week was ____________ (confusing, ugly, inspiring)… and with each other we can recover, believe and hope.

The theater of
pretend needs to end!

If you’re happy then be extra happy! Don’t pretend seriousness either. Be contagious with your joy. Spread good love and cheer. We need the strong, we need the weak, we need the in-between, but most of all, we need the honest and the real.

God is still looking for those who worship in spirit and in truth. So ask yourself this question, “what is true for me today?” Does your truth feel like loneliness? Anger and frustration? Are you overwhelmed with shame?

Go ahead and worship
God with that.

Turn it into praise.

Break the jar of your loneliness at the feet of Jesus.
Let it be your inspiration for attending the family gathering, not the deterrent for faking it through another Sunday.

Paul said it best in Romans 12, “Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle. Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down. Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.”

If we would all admitted that we are hurting and lonely and in need of a Savior, then our Sunday experience would be more freeing, more powerful and in-tune with the Good News of the Gospel. So what are we waiting for? Let’s do it this weekend. Let’s destroy the mask together, and put the garments of truth and love.

These days we need it more than ever.

Everyone says they want community and deep friendship. However, because it takes accountability and commitment we run the other way.
— Tim Keller "The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness: The Path to True Christian Joy"