“What else is all our work to God—whether in the fields, in the garden, in the city, in the house, in war, or in government—but just such a child’s performance, by which He wants to give His gifts in the fields, at home, and everywhere else? These are the masks of God, behind which He wants to remain concealed and do all things.”
Had Gideon done nothing but take the field against Midian, the Midianites would not have been beaten; and God could certainly have beaten them without Gideon. He could give children without using men and women. But He does not want to do this. Instead, He joins man and woman so that it appears to be the work of man and woman, and yet He does it under the cover of such masks. We have the saying: “God gives every good thing, but not just by waving a wand.” God gives all good gifts; but you must lend a hand and take the bull by the horns; that is, you must work and thus give God good cause and a mask.” ~Martin Luther, lecturing on Psalm 147:13 (Luther’s Works, Vol.14, p.114-5)
Halloween conjures many images from frightful to delightful. In our home, costumes make appearances year round. There’s often a minion or a firefighter or a dinosaur to dodge.
Genesis 1:27 teaches we were made in the image of God, male and female, created by God’s creative Word. To be made in the image of God is to be given the task of representing and reflecting God’s care for the rest of creation. We are to be fruitful and multiply. We are to steward creation’s resources wisely. Adam was given the task to name the animals, which implies relationship and responsibility.
God desires to work through instruments. As Luther noted, God could speak all future babies into existence with a word. Instead, God has created a world that reflects God’s glory and activity through the things that have been created as they live and move and have their being in God.
This image of God in us has been broken by sin. Halloween’s more frightening costumes become an annual parable of humanity’s inhumanity. Thanks be to God, Christ Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God, has given his life for the redemption of we cracked images.
We do not need to wear the frightening masks of the old life. Instead, by the grace of God we are made into the masks of God. God gives himself to creation through the masks called me and you. What a treat, without the trick!