The reason for the masks is simple: the people launching violence do not want to be known. They hide their identity, while their blatant actions cause suffering. They want their brutality known; yet they want to hide, and to escape from what they have done.
If we see someone whose face is covered, we are suspicious. A hidden identity signals this person is up to no good. A mask can mean that someone chooses to hide, and so to escape.
Without using a cloth covering, many people wear masks. Their faces may be exposed, but deep parts of their lives are hidden, often behind a smiling face. All of us understand. We work hard to obscure less attractive parts of our lives. There are some things we just do not want known. We can’t abide some parts of ourselves; why would we want anyone else to see us?
When congregations function as they should, masks can be removed. Healthy congregations invite us to be our best selves. Congregations that fulfill the ideals of faith do not stop us at the door. They invite us in and they encourage us.
Belonging is a journey toward healing. Deep inside each of us is a life waiting to be revealed and a promise waiting to be fulfilled. It takes the right place and the right people. Faith community offers just the opportunity to blossom as a person. That’s the meaning of belonging.