“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl… let your light shine before me…” Matthew 5:14-16
Zack’s fifth grade class has been acting out The Phantom of The Opera during music class each Friday for a while now. The students had to audition for the different roles. I was shocked when Zack won the part of The Phantom. I didn’t really think drama was his thing, his little brother, most certainly, but not my math-minded Zack. He explained that he got it because he was the only one “who took it seriously.”
A few weeks into it, I downloaded “Music of The Night” onto my ipod and blasted it in the kitchen after dinner. My husband, kids, and I asked Zack to give us a preview of what he does in class. I was baffled when he flat out refused, saying he was embarrassed to perform in front of us. How could he possibly perform in front of his own peers, but not in front of his own family, who love and accept him no matter what?
After pushing him for an answer to this perplexity, he explained that in class he wore not just one mask, but two: the top mask was the infamous Phantom half mask, but the bottom one was the Phantom’s disfigured face. As Zack explained this, an idea hit him. He disappeared and reappeared wearing the black reaper hood and mask that he wore for Halloween last year. Suddenly he was ready and willing to perform for us.
He started out stiff as a board, just subtly waving his hands at waist level as he pretended to be The Phantom. But as the story in the song unfolded, he got so absorbed by it that everything changed: his posture became completely engaged as he swayed to the music, while punching his fists into the air with emotion. Eventually he lost all inhibition, and, right before our eyes, truly became The Phantom: his movements and emotions rising and falling with the swell and dip of the music. His light was shining so bright, no mask or hood could conceal it! Tears came to my eyes at the end of the song when Zack was so into it that his head was tilted towards the ceiling and his arms were raised skyward. The drama teacher in me was impressed with his depth of talent. The mother in me was blown away by his level of abandon. Wow! Who knew?
Aren’t we all Zacks? Don’t we all have talents that we try to “put under a bowl” because we are fearful of judgement and ridicule? Don’t we all hide behind masks at times, afraid to show our true selves as we take a risk? Or when we don’t have a mask at our fingertips, we just flat out refuse to take any risks at all?
Fortunately we had a reaper mask and hood on hand that Zack could hide behind, but oh how I wish that weren’t necessary. That’s certainly not what God wants either. He wants us to use the talents that He has gifted us with, not only to “let our light shine before men,” but to cast their glow so brightly that it becomes a spotlight shining back on Him.
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