This Halloween mask related study encourages youth to take a look at the masks we wear everyday, not just on Halloween and to expose what is underneath to God so that he can transform us so that we reveal his glory!
Read the Poem “The mask I wear”
Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear
for I wear a mask. I wear a thousand masks
masks that I’m afraid to take off
and none of them are me.
Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me
But don’t be fooled, don’t be fooled.
I give you the impression that I’m secure
That all is sunny and unruffled with me
within as well as without,
that confidence is my name
and coolness my game,
that the water’s calm
and I’m in command,
and that I need no one.
But don’t believe me. Please!
My surface may be smooth but my surface is my mask,
My ever-varying and ever-concealing mask.
Beneath lies no smugness, no complacence.
Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, in aloneness.
But I hide this.
I don’t want anybody to know it.
I panic at the thought of my weaknesses
and fear exposing them.
That’s why I frantically create my masks to hide behind.
They’re nonchalant, sophisticated facades to help me pretend,
To shield me from the glance that knows.
But such a glance is precisely my salvation,
my only salvation,
and I know it.
That is, if it’s followed by acceptance,
and if it’s followed by love.
It’s the only thing that can liberate me from myself
from my own self-built prison walls.
I dislike hiding, honestly
I dislike the superficial game I’m playing,
the superficial phony game.
I’d really like to be genuine and me.
But I need your help, your hand to hold
Even though my masks would tell you otherwise
That glance from you is the only thing that assures me
of what I can’t assure myself,
that I’m really worth something.
But I don’t tell you this.
I don’t dare.
I’m afraid to.
I’m afraid you’ll think less of me, that you’ll laugh
and your laugh would kill me.
I’m afraid that deep-down I’m nothing, that I’m just no good
and you will see this and reject me.
So I play my game, my desperate, pretending game
With a facade of assurance without
And a trembling child within.
So begins the parade of masks,
The glittering but empty parade of masks,
and my life becomes a front.
I idly chatter to you in suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that’s nothing
and nothing of what’s everything,
of what’s crying within me.
So when I’m going through my routine
do not be fooled by what I’m saying
Please listen carefully and try to hear
what I’m not saying
Hear what I’d like to say
but what I cannot say.
It will not be easy for you,
long felt inadequacies make my defenses strong.
The nearer you approach me
the blinder I may strike back.
Despite what books say of men, I am irrational;
I fight against the very thing that I cry out for.
you wonder who I am
for I am everyman
who wears a mask.
Don’t be fooled by me.
At least not by the face I wear.
Take it to the Next Level
- At Halloween, children often wear obvious masks. But the truth is people of all ages are wearing masks every day, not just on Halloween. What are some of the masks that adults often wear? What are some of the masks that youth wear?
- Have you ever pretended to hide your true feelings? Why did you hide your real feelings? How is hiding your feelings like wearing a mask?
- Have you ever pretended to be something that you weren’t? To go along with the crowd? To gain acceptance from other youth? Because you were afraid someone might not like the true you? Because you feared rejection if they saw the real you? What are some other reasons youth might wear masks?
Taking off the Masks
Wearing a mask brings certain comforts, but it also may hinder our personal growth. As long as we wear the mask we don;t have to deal with the underlying problem. But when we are truly able to confront the truth about ourselves we will find true freedom. We can find healing. We can find an answer to the weaknesses that plague us.
2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
Some key truths from this verse and the Life of Paul:
- Paul did not need to hear kind words from his friends. His life and ministry was already reflecting God’s glory.
- Paul revealed his weaknesses. And in doing so, he also revealed the reality and the power of Jesus. Paul was weak, but the Spirit of God was constantly at work in him. Jesus is not revealed in a person by their human perfection but rather by God transforming us into His image.
- Paul’s life was not one of “see how good I am.” On the contrary, his life was “see what God is doing in a sinner (Paul referred to himself as the chief of sinners).” We are all sinners with all the ugliness of sin, bent and twisted out of shape, far from being the persons we want to be, or that God intends us to be (Romans 3:23).
- Our transformation comes from the Holy Spirit. God is in the process of working His transformation in us. “We are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The truth is, when we take of the masks and are honest with ourselves and God he takes our fears, our weaknesses, our sinful ugliness and transforms us to look like Him. When we fail to do so we put on a mask and we no longer reflect the love, grace and joy of Christ. One of the names that Jesus called the pharisees was that of a hypocrite, or a whitewashed tombstone. The word comes from the Greek word “hypokrites” and was a technical term for a stage actor who usually wore a mask and acted a part.
Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”
Making It Personal
What are some of the masks you wear? Why? How would things change if you were to take off this mask and let God deal with the true fears and issues that lie underneath? What is a real way that you can take off this mask? Is there someone you can talk in honesty that can help keep you accountable? Say a prayer to God to help you to deal with the underlying issue so that you can more fully reveal his likeness and glory in your life!
Provide Halloween masks or carnival masks for the entire group of youth. If possible, you can give youth some heavy paper (paper plates work well) and rubber bands and ask them to create a mask before the lesson. Later at the “Making it personal” stage of the lesson, have youth add a symbol or some words to indicate the mask that they want to remove so that God can work on that area of their life.
For a lesson which complements this one see Masks
Games and Activities in Celebration of common Holidays.
Creative Holiday Ideas has over 300 pages of ideas to help you plan your next Halloween event or Fall Festival, as well as a variety of other familiar holidays. If you’ve ever wondered what you’re going to do for the various common holidays and how you’re going to do it, this resource is for you.
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