In the height of Covid, passing a nurses’ station during one of my dad’s hospital stays, I heard one caregiver’s verbal jab at another, followed by the inaccurate clarification: “Oh, with this mask on, you can’t see my smile.” For the past five days, one stranger after another has entered my dad’s room to gather information or dispense therapy, and their emotional responses have been as transparent as if they had not been wearing universally required surgical masks. Crow’s feet radiate a smile. Eyebrows rise curious. Foreheads wrinkle worried. Eyes widen surprised. A masked mouth does not muffle the full face’s message.

Gathering at church is the mouth of Christianity, where we provoke each other to love and good works, and where the unbeliever might worship God and declare God is really among us. But God expects the message to radiate from our whole face. Respect and peace, esteem and encouragement, help and patience are not masked even when Sunday is.

You’ve seen the opposite portrait: mouth Cheshire-grinned, eyes shark-dead. Covering a mouth would never silence a believer’s message. Affirming with our mouths what we deny with the rest of our lives is exactly what Jesus taught us not to do. To modify the condemnation: “These people honor me with their lips, but their eyebrows, foreheads, eyes, and wrinkles are far from me.”

This week, may the part of our lives others do see reveal the faith permeating all of it.