I recently finished a historical fiction novel called Fawkes. It was about the Gunpowder Plot and showed the tensions and violence between Protestants and Catholics. It's set in a fantasy story where people use masks to gain power from colors. Protestants are called Igniters and Catholics are called Keepers. Jesus is represented by a being called White Light.

White Light is the source of all things and he created all the colors. He is the power behind everything. He speaks to everyone, but Keepers choose not to listen. He wants everyone to bond with him, to hope in him, but Keepers believe that White is too dangerous to speak to. They believer White should be honored, that he affects their world, but people should have no direct contact with him. Igniters speak to White, they bond with him, they draw their power and strength from him, and he becomes such a part of them that even their blood has ribbons of white light through it.

The main characters father, Guy Fawkes, is loyal Keeper throughout the book. He is set in his beliefs and is a main conspirator of the Gunpowder Plot. He runs from bonding with White Light and devotes himself to trying to rid England of the Igniter king and parliament. Towards the end of the book, the main character, Thomas Fawkes, turns Igniter and tries to ruin the plot without incriminating any of the plotters. His plan goes awry however and his father is captured as the plot disintegrates. His father, who never takes off his color mask (he considers his mask his pride and identity) is stripped of his mask and sent to the Tower of London to be tortured and eventually executed.

On the eve of Guy's execution, Thomas visits him. He sees what they've done to his father. They broke Guy's mask, then stuck the pieces to his face with tar and nails. Yet through all that, he remained a loyal Keeper. But at the request of his son, he agrees to consider turning to the White Light on his final night. The next day, as he climbs the ladder to the gallows, as he sees his son in the crowd, he reaches up and tears the mask pieces from his face. He rips each one off and as blood pours from the torn skin and nail holes he yells to his son, "DO YOU SEE?!?" The blood covering his face was streaked with white and he walked to his death with joy, hope and peace. Thomas describes it as his father donning a new mask, of "blood and light."

Think About It

How many of us are willing to follow Guy Fawkes' example? So many of us accept Christ, then continue trying to find our identity and pride in ourselves and what we can do. We continue to wear our masks. Even if we don't want to do this, the world tries to force it on us, but how many of us have the courage to imitate Guy Fawkes?

How many of us are willing to tell the world (and our own pride) NO? Will we refuse to hide behind the mask of our own achievements...the unsatisfying facade that we are enough on our own, because we will never be enough without Christ? Or will we trust Christ enough to tear away our personal identity piece by bloody piece until nothing shows but Christ? Will we share Guy's excitement at being one with Christ enough to let Him be our identity?

Are we willing to wear a mask of blood and light?