Friday, May 11, 2012

                  Moses Unveiled

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John Fischer, “Evangelical Veil Productions”

Moses came down from Sinai and placed a veil over his face to shield his audience from its radiant beauty,[1] or so it would appear (Exodus 34:28–35). 

Paul, however, had another take, something not readily apparent from the Old Testament story. Moses veiled his face, “so that the children of Israel could not look to the end of that which was fading away” (2 Corinthians 3”13). The beauty on Moses face had faded away, but God’s servant kept up the charade.

I can’t be too hard on Moses, however, for at times we all pretend to be more beautiful than we are. We hide behind a façade of performance and perfection.

But no one can keep up the pretense forever. Some unsightly emotional display, some inappropriate reaction, some humiliating behavior strips us of our facade and we’re found out. Others come to know what we’ve known all along: that parts of us are still ugly and contemptible. 

At that moment of brokenness, we can hide our shame, or we can be touched at the deepest heart–level by God’s amazing grace and remember that we are God’s beloved children, despite the fact that we are not yet fully converted. Then, living “in and out of the truth of our belovedness” (Buechner), we can stand unveiled before others and before God, unadorned by pretense and hypocrisy. We can be who we are with all our imperfection apparent for all to see instead of being the sham Christians we loathed before.

And we can ask our Lord every day to complete the work he has begun: to transform us into the image of his Son, “from one measure of beauty to the next” (2 Corinthians 3:18). We can rest in the assurance that he will do so gradually (but inexorably) until we reach heaven and home and see the radiance of Jesus’ face. Then our dreams of perfection will become reality; we will be like him in every conceivable way (1 John 3:2).


[1] I have long believed that “beauty” is the best translation of the Greek word doksan (glory). Our English word “glory” suggests “fame” or “something shiny” and misses the meaning of the original idea.

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