Veil

February 12, 2014

Quinn G. Caldwell

"When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face…" - Exodus 34:33

Only a few uber-holy people ever get to see God face to face.  Moses, of course, was one of them.  Tradition has it that if any of the rest of us were to be confronted by God's holiness, our heads would explode; we would be destroyed.  Even Moses didn't escape unscathed; God's holiness rubbed off on him, making his face glow so much that he had to wear a veil in order to keep from freaking people out.

When you think about it, the whole humans-can't-see-God-without-being-destroyed thing is actually a good explanation for Jesus: God loves us enough to want to be near us, but that would kill us.  The solution?  Become one of us.  As the carol puts it, "Veiled in flesh the Godhead see / So your head doesn't explode…Hark!  The herald angels sing…"

Or something like that.  Anyway, the point is that God apparently needs to veil God's holiness in order to get as close to us as God wants to.  One of the veils God uses to do that is humanity itself, first in Jesus, and now also in the people that love and follow God.

Which means you should be asking yourself this: in whom has God come to me recently?  My kid?  That lady in line at the store?  The lover with whom I celebrate Valentine's Day?  My boss

And what was God trying to say?

Prayer

God, when you come close to me by veiling yourself in the people around me, give me the grace to see and hear you there.  Amen.

About the Author
Quinn G. Caldwell is Pastor and Teacher at Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC, in Syracuse, New York, and co-editor, with Curtis J. Preston, of the Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ, published by The Pilgrim Press.
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