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Dog Costumes

“Guess what,” my little friend said. “What?” I answered. “My dog’s gonna be dressed up as a hot dog on Halloween… and I’m gonna be a hot dog salesperson.” We sat and talked a little more, about candy, and costumes, and masks and such. I left, thinking to myself, “Since when do stores sell costumes for pets?” I decided to Google this pet costume stuff. Wow! I had no idea folks. In 2 minutes I saw costumes and masks for everything from bulldogs and cats, to horses and cows. I even found a site designed to teach your pet to wear costumes.

The 10 steps began like this: “To train your pet to accept the Halloween pet costume take the following steps: First, let the pet sniff the costume and treat for interest. At that point I had enough. I’m sure I’m gonna get some feedback from this (probably from my daughter who last year dressed up her dogs and used the photo for her family Christmas card) but, when did pets ask to get in on the Halloween action?  An interesting note is that my search of masks turned up articles on Halloween and…You guessed it…church. One writer described some modern church services as simply, masquerade parties. So much effort and energy wasted on pretending and hiding. Maybe you’ve seen (or wore) one of these: The “I’m fine thanks” mask, the “I’m not lonely mask,” the “My life is great mask, “The Pain is Gone,” mask or the “Please focus on my new clothes and not my ragged heart” mask. In a beautiful moment of candor and transparency this past week, a young woman came to the stage at church and started off her story by revealing that she actually lives at the Women’s Correctional Center (She’s allowed a break from her incarceration each Sunday’s to come to church). As she ended her story, the entire room stood to their feet in a rousing standing ovation. Transparency is powerful…and liberating. Watch this video.

 Yet, when we accept our messed up, broken and wounded self, and stop reaching for the cover-up case or smiley mask, we become tender under the healing hand of the Great Physician. We can then contribute to the community of what Henri Nouwen calls, “Wounded Healers.” My friend, Pastor Lisa, read from Exodus 3 in chapel this past week where Moses basically says, “Who am I that I should go and do all this stuff?” God in His infinite wisdom didn’t really answer his question. He simply (and powerfully) said, “I will be with you. That’s a word for all of us who may not like our inadequacies, how we look, how we appear, what we’ve become, or where we’ve been. Who am I? God’s answer…I am with you.  So dress up Bruno and Sparky all you want, but by all means, drop the masks and take up your real place as a child of the King. Greater is He who’s in you than he who’s in the world.


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