Masks Give Us Superpowers

The story that I have for you today is about masks. We’ve been dealing with masks a lot, haven’t we? Masks like this one and the ones everyone here is wearing. (Point to COVID mask.)

We wear these masks now because they protect us and because they protect other people. Masks like these may have seemed new to us in the past year, but humans have been using masks for a really long time. Masks are ancient. Masks can be for telling a story, or remembering our ancestors, or connecting to the spirits or celebrating and for playing.
Masks also let us try being something else, something that we aren’t usually. For example, did you dress up for Halloween last year? Did you wear a mask?
Maybe you were a dinosaur. (Put on or hold up mask)
Or a mermaid. (mask)
Or an owl. (mask)
Maybe you were something scary, like a ghost or a zombie.

When you were in your Halloween costume, you got to be whatever you were dressed as, not just the everyday you.

Last Halloween I dressed up as a black cat [or whatever feels true to the speaker]. I’m a black cat pretty much every Halloween—it’s my favorite. I put on ears and a tail, put whiskers on my face and make my nose black. I was transformed from me to a black cat. (Put on cat ears)

Two small children, in superhero costumes: one is Spiderman

Or maybe you were your favorite superhero for Halloween. Picture in your mind your favorite superhero. Do they wear a mask? Spiderman does. So does Batman and Mr. Incredible. So does Batwoman and Thunder and Elastigirl. Lots of superheroes wear masks.

If I were to add a mask to my Halloween costume, I could be Catwoman. (put on black eye mask) She’s an expert cat-burglar who Batman is trying to track down. I could be somebody totally different by putting on a mask. And I could be the villain, the one who causes trouble. Just pretend! Just for Halloween!

When you put on your Halloween costume, did you become somebody or something else?

So, I got to thinking—masks do so many things. They protect us and help us protect other people. They help us remember our ancestors. They help us tell stories. And they let us be someone or something totally different from who we usually are.

I think masks give us superpowers—including the power to be transformed.

What do you think? Do you think masks can give us superpowers?

I hope you’ll share your thoughts and feelings with your parents, family, or me or maybe even in the breakout rooms after the service today. I can’t wait to hear.

About the Author

Mary Gear

Rev. Mary Mangione Gear (she/her) serves the Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation on the shores of the Salish Sea and in the shadow of Mount Tahoma in Washington State.

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