Today’s Word from Pastor Dennis Hanson…

That pesky mask these days – wear it or not; violation of freedom or expression of caring for others. That mask, the sign of our times.

As a kid I listened faithfully to the radio program called “The Lone Ranger,” the masked man whose secret was hidden behind an eye mask, but we knew him for what he was – one who could solve any injustice and set right the wrongs. Every week. The Lone Ranger was a white man whose best friend and partner was not. He was an Indian named Tonto, who shared the power and authority with the masked man. They worked as one on behalf of others. A masked man and a “savage,” who came not to steal or harm, claiming neither reward nor fame for the help they gave. When the deed was done, they simply rode off into the sunset with a benediction, “Hi Ho Silver, away!” and Tonto’s amen, “Get ‘em up Scout!” I knew they would return the next week for another edition and the eternal question, “Who was that masked man?” Another episode of intervention and correction, putting things right again, and then getting out of the way. Nobody ever asked, as Seattle weather people usually ask, “Will it last?” No need, since of course, it won’t last; problems rise up after some are solved; it goes on and on from one disaster to another, from one hurt to another, from one pain to another, but all along goodness breaking through again and again.

I loved that show. I loved when that silver bullet fired, sending that evil man’s gun into the air with a loud ping! The fight was over and sweet justice ruled another day, until the next week. I ordered the silver bullet ring offered at the end of the program. I lost it, of course.

Now I’m thinking, how many masked people have entered my life over the years. A scholarship appeared out of nowhere for my seminary years – anonymous. A black-haired beauty said, “I think you’re OK. Let’s get married and I’ll teach while you study your Call to be a pastor in the Lutheran Church. And then, there were three congregations who, one following the other, saying in effect, “We don’t know you from Adam really, but we’ll take a chance and call you to be our Pastor.”

Masked people appearing and saving the day. We’ve all seen it or experienced them. I find it fun to be out and about and see all the masked ones around now and wonder, “Who is that?” I wonder what goodness they are up to today. So simple too, like the car arriving at a neighbor’s house, struck by Covid-19, mom in the hospital and her family isolated, quarantined in the home. That car stops in the driveway and a driver gets out, masked. A grocery bag or two is left on the front steps, and the masked one leaves without a word spoken either to be thanked or recognized.

I like living in a world of masked people East of Eden where somehow people with many personal, unknown secrets nevertheless are helping another person, not just fussing about their own freedom to survive. Don’t you?

Pastor Dennis