If you ever need a time for extended reflection I recommend the drive from Stillwater, Oklahoma to Dallas. I finished that trek yesterday and I had much time to listen to music and think. The group “Casting Crowns” has recently been resonating with me. Let me take that a step farther. Their lyrics have been kicking my butt all over the field.
One song in particular stuck in my mind, heart, and soul during that long drive. The song is called “Stained Glass Masquerade” and the title says it all. This song speaks powerfully to the all too human desire to be phony at church so that the others (who are also acting phony) will not think less of us. To have an impact in this culture we have to be genuine, real, authentic. Young men and women have a phony detector that is tuned to pick up the smallest deceit. I am tired of the phoniness. I am tired of the masks we wear. Just reading the lyrics will not give you the total power of this song but it will give you a taste.
Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small
Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they’ll soon discover
That I don’t belong
So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
So with a painted grin, I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them
Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation’s open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade
Is there anyone who’s been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who’s traded
In the altar for a stage
The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart
But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be
Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay
Wow. Thank you to “Casting Crowns” for writing and performing such an honest and transparent song. The message strikes straight to my heart. The body of Christ (the church) must be real to work as it was designed. It is up to you and to me to drop the stained glass masquerades and have the courage to be transparent. Our mission is pretty simple. The Apostle John outlined a strategy that could spark a revival in this land.
- Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Carly Simon sang “We Haven’t Got Time for the Pain” in 1974. Thirty-one-years later we haven’t got time for the pain of trying to be happy plastic people under shiny plastic steeples. I am committed to dropping the stained glass masquerades. Any one interested in jumping on board?