Proverbs 14:7 for May 14, 2020, “One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.” This caught my heart this morning. To pretend is to “speak and act so as to make it appear that something is the case when in fact it is not.” The etimology suggests I act before (pre) in such a way as to stretch forth (tend) into action. The word often suggests a game of deception. As a child, I might have pretended to be a princess in my daydreams in hopes of being beautiful or wealth when the ugly duck grew up. Perhaps as adults we “put on our masks” to face the challenges of navigating culture. Oh no, now pretend is resonating with “masks” and that is a big word today. Could we write the proverb to be- one person wears a mask to protect his wealth now while another does not wear a mask in the presence of many friends, his wealth. Masks function to protect us from unseen or anticipated harm that is always present and to protect others from that which I don’t want to be known. When we go to church, the building, whether we wear masks or not, there is a God who sees through our pretenses and our defenses and who meets us without pretending. God sees, hears and knows all about us and the challenges that we will face and in fact, goes with us into those challenges. Today we will look in the Daniel Bible study at how Daniel, confronted by the executioner at his door, takes his case to the higher powers. Sunday we look at the promise of the ever present Holy Spirit that is with us as we act. So, I ask myself in what ways I am pretending today as I prepare to face the challenges? May we be genuine and never forget that God walks with us as we prepare to stretch forth into this day. Blessings.