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Removing the Mask of Error: Trick or Treatment

Barry Huff
Posted Tuesday, October 29th, 2002

Removing the Mask of Error: Trick or Treatment

Barry Huff's Chapel on October 28, 2002 for Halloween Week at Principia Lower School

Raise your hand if you know what costume you're going to wear for the Halloween Parade on Thursday. Well, I'm going to share a few ideas on how you can celebrate Halloween every day.

Do you hear that knocking? Let's see who it is. Why aren't you all scared?

Oh, it's Mr. Moyle! Cool costume Mr. Moyle. Every day, we see people who are wearing costumes, but often their costume isn't as easy to spot as Mr. Moyle's mask and robe. Sometimes we don't even know that they're wearing costumes. For example, your friend may look hurt or may be acting mean. But really, those are just masks of error, lies about your friend. They are not who your friend really is. Do you know that you have a job? Your job is to see everyone the way God sees them and not be tricked by whatever costume they're wearing. By doing that, you help people get rid of the mask of ungodlike thoughts and actions and realize who they really are as the loved children of God.

Do you realize that the most important test you'll ever have to take, you've already passed with flying colors, with an A+ on your report card, 100% right, secure. God saw everything that he had made, and behold it is very good. Congratulations, you're one of God's best ideas! But along with the A+ there is a command for each of us: to see God's creation as very good.

That's how Jesus healed. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy tells us how to heal like Jesus did: "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick."

So, where everybody else saw someone wearing the costume of a sick person, and believed that the costume was real-Jesus wasn't tricked by the disguise of material appearance. Instead, he saw the true identity of the individual, and by seeing the person as God's very good child, the mask of sickness disappeared.

One evening when I was in college, I read a Sentinel article that made this awesome statement: "Mortal sense is 'non-sense.' Spiritual sense is 'God-sense.'" Let me read that again. "Mortal sense is 'non-sense.' Spiritual sense is 'God-sense.'" Deciding to view with God-sense instead of non-sense, I walked over to the college art studio to frame some of my art. I was cutting a frame with an exacto knife when the knife slipped and I cut my finger instead of the frame. Immediately, the statement I had read came to thought and I laughed because this picture of me as a bleeding victim was so ridiculous. I washed off my finger while rejoicing that I am God's complete, untouchable artistic masterpiece. And so are you! The picture of injury was unmasked and the finger healed quickly. I had made a choice that evening, and that choice was to see with spiritual sense, God-sense, and not to be tricked by the costume of mortal sense, non-sense. This choice helped me walk away with joy and freedom from a situation where the majority of the world would have raced off to a hospital.

Jesus had an even cooler experience. Before he had even healed anyone, God told him, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." Do you realize that God says that about each of us!

Immediately after hearing this good news, Jesus went into the wilderness. When he was in the wilderness, bad thoughts called temptations came to him. Each temptation started with these words "IF thou be the son of God." Challenging what God had just told Jesus, "This is my beloved son." Jesus wasn't fooled for a second by the bad thoughts that tried to mask his identity. He knew that he was God's loved child, and so he ripped the mask off of these thoughts and said "Get thee behind me Satan."

Mrs. Eddy wrote that "Jesus strips all disguise from error" and that "evil, uncovered, is self-destroyed." She also gave great Halloween advice when she said, "To put down the claim of sin, you must detect it, remove the mask, point out the illusion, and thus get the victory over sin and so prove its unreality."

When we recognize that bad thoughts aren't our own thoughts, that they're just lies about our identity, then we're free from those thoughts and don't have to wear their costume. When a bad thought knocks at your mental door, don't be scared by its mask! Don't be tricked into thinking that it's your own thought. Instead of being fooled into welcoming tricky temptations into your thought and giving them candy, or a treat, you can give them a treatment. A Christian Science treatment is seeing that masks of sickness or evil are not a person's true identity, because God's creation can never experience evil, since God is All.

So, when you hear a knock on the door of your thoughts, you can say, "Trick or treatment." Christian Science practitioners give treatments all the time. Raise your hand if you're a Christian Science practitioner. Everybody in this room should have their hand in the air, because if you're practicing Christian Science in your life, then you're a Christian Science practitioner.

Let me share how Edward Kimball, a Christian Science practitioner who was one of the first Christian Science teachers and lecturers, was able to say, "Trick or treatment." One time, a woman came to him complaining that she had yellow canary feathers growing all over her arms. He said, "Madam, there are no canary feathers on your arms." But she insisted that there were, saying, "Of course there are. Look at this." What do you think Mr. Kimball did? Did he work really hard to pull all the yellow canary feathers off of her arms? Of course not. What he did was help the woman wake up from the mental illusion that had tricked her, the belief that she had yellow canary feathers. He prayed to get rid of a mental illusion. And he did this by seeing the truth about the woman as the image and likeness of God, NOT a yellow canary.

Now, what would you do if you saw someone who appeared to skin her knee on the playground? Instead of praying to heal skinned knees, you should pray to not be tricked by this picture, and to wake up from this mental illusion. The skinned knees are just as unreal as yellow canary feathers.

When everyone else was fooled by the appearance that Lazarus was dead, Jesus refused to be tricked by this costume of yellow canary feathers, and so he raised Lazarus from the dead. Similarly, David ran to meet Goliath because he wasn't scared by the costume of physical height that Goliath wore. To be victorious like Jesus and David, we need to follow Jesus' advice and "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." In other words, we need to see spiritually instead of materially. We need to see others as God sees them instead of judging them by their looks.

The first recorded words that Jesus said when coming out of the wilderness to begin his healing ministry were, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The Greek word for repent, metanoeo, means to "move the mind," to change one's mind, to think differently. This is an active call to transform our thought about how we view the world. When we repent, we realize that scary images and tempting thoughts are not realities we have to buy into. Instead, they're illusions that vanish when we recognize the allness of God.

I brought along a drawing to help us repent. This is a quick drawing of a witch: here's her nose, her mouth, her eye...And here's a more detailed drawing of the witch. Now, it's time to repent. Does anybody see anything besides a witch in this picture? What if I told you that this is actually a picture of a beautiful lady. Here's a quick drawing of the beautiful lady, with her necklace, her nose, and eyelashes. Here's the more detailed drawing. Can you see the beautiful lady in it? In the same picture, you can see a witch or a beautiful lady. Looking at someone on the playground, are you seeing a meanie or a buddy? In the classroom, are you seeing a dumb student or an intelligent idea of God. Instead of being impressed with a material picture, you can repent, change your thinking, to see past the false costume to what God sees, the reality of God's perfect creation.

Here's a question for you: What word is part of Halloween? Where have you heard the word "hallow" before? To hallow something means to celebrate it as holy, whole, and complete. Names in the Bible mean the nature, the identity, of someone. That's why when people changed their lives, their names changed, like Jacob to Israel or Saul to Paul. So, if hallowing God's name means celebrating the identity of God and God's creation as holy, whenever we see past a bad-looking costume to the true identity of someone as very good, the way God sees them, we are hallowing their name. This hallowing is the best way to celebrate Halloween. So, have a very happy Halloween moment by moment, asking every thought that comes to you, "Trick or treatment," and seeing past the costumes, canary feathers, and masks of physical appearance to the true identity of an individual that God sees and celebrates.

Happy Halloween!

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