Shortly after the festival of Purim in 2020, we faced a new reality; rather, our face had a new reality: a government health mandate to cover our face with a mask when in public. Some complied. Some wrestled. Some complied, albeit reluctantly.
While this mandate was connected to a health crisis, it had a greater lesson to teach us. What?
Suddenly we were faceless, unrecognizable, unknown, publicly anonymous. Hidden, yet in the open, as our face, the mirror of our soul was covered.
Smiling? I don’t know. Frowning? I can’t tell. Aghast? How can you tell?
Have you noticed, this past year, just how much we rely on facial cues to tell us what’s happening on the inside of a person?
This is for good reason. The face, as I’ve written previously, is the meeting place of the physical face, and the face of the soul: the outer and the inner.
Face in Hebrew פָנִים/panim is spelled identically to פְּנִים/pinim, meaning inside. Unlike the rest of the human body, the face does not need a covering, as the Lord designed it to shine forth the soul: the inside radiating out.
The festival of Purim, from the book of Esther, recognizes that each of us have masks, or protective coverings that we need to remove in order to shine forth just who He has made us to be. Still, for many of us, these masks developed over time, as we needed to protect ourselves from the harm of social, and sadly, even familial settings.
Masks cover the face; and in the case of Esther, her mask, concealing her identity as a Jew, needed to be removed in order to rescue the Jewish people.
Our masks need to be removed as well; not the temporarily mandated masks, but those protective masks of our own design. The mask masking the soul, protecting the heart, and the inner man. Why?
Now that we recognize just how much we depend on facial cues in social situations, how much more does our soul need to shine out the message of redemption through our faces? The message of the Good News of Messiah.
Purim reminds us that our identity, as His people, cannot remain a secret, cannot be covered, cannot be protected, cannot be hidden away. Aa He shines through us, unobstructed by our protective masks, the enemy is always defeated in the light of His countenance (Num. 6:24-26).
How are these masks removed? Faith in the work of Messiah Yeshua/Jesus (Eph. 6:10).
Be well. Shalom.