Who Was That Masked Man?

Before long, it will be October, which reminds me of Halloween and children putting on masks, wigs, and costumes of various colors and styles. It is an opportunity to become an actor and play a role.

Most of my generation grew up on TV westerns such as Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and the Cisco Kid. Naturally, they were the good guys, making the western frontier a safer place for settlers to live.

"Who was that masked man?" became a trademark of the Lone Ranger program. Actually, this crusader for 'truth and justice in the American way' was known only by his external persona. His actual identity was never revealed -- part of the suspense, of course. No one was ever quite able to remove that mask and discover his true identity.

But you and I can be perceived as living behind a mask. Our career or position in society sometimes becomes a mask, which takes the place of our real identity. You may be referred to as a teacher or doctor or mother or mailman. You may identify yourself as being successful or worthless. Yet none of these is who you really are, but rather, the hats you wear, the roles you play. What's your real name?

A recent and well-known play, "Phantom of the Opera" portrayed a disfigured musical genius that also wore a mask. He loved music but was only able to sing through his female counterpart. He felt  incapable of living his own life, of being authentic.

It is not uncommon for individuals to live their lives through someone else, often their spouse or children. Embedded within another, they know not who they really are.

Consider the man known today as Jesus Christ. I say today for that was not his name 2000 years ago. When he walked the earth, his peers called him Jesus (of Nazareth). But he knew himself as Christ -- God's anointed or blessed one.

In Unity, we understand that Christ was his true identity while Jesus was his persona -- not his eternal self, but his temporal role as a human being. Now he is know as Jesus Christ, for his humanity and spirituality became one -- no longer a dichotomy, but a unity. Spirit has become flesh.

Who are you? Are you only your body, your mind, your personality? Or do you identify as a spiritual being--living as the Christ Spirit--expressing as a physical person, a carpenter, a home-maker, a foreman, a student, a musician, a nephew, an athlete?

Authored by Reverend Virgil Brewer at Unity Chapel
September 1, 2006

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