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Remove the Veil

February 8, 2021

But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 3:14, The New Living Bible).

For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness, made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

When I am tested for new glasses, the optometrist puts a machine in front of my eyes and asks me to look at a chart while he changes the lenses on the machine to determine which are best.  He says “Is it clearer with one or two? Three or four?”  One lens is usually better than the other, which helps him decide on the best prescription for me.  

Likewise, when we lift a veil from our face or move a sheer curtain aside, our vision of what lies beyond become much clearer.  Next Sunday is Valentine’s Day—a popular day for weddings, when the bridegroom lifts the veil from the face of his beloved so that she can see him more clearly.

For believers, Christ is the bridegroom of his beloved, the church.  He lifted the veil and revealed himself to us.  Sometimes, the veil obscuring the acceptance of Christ is lifted quite dramatically as it was when the Risen Christ confronted Saul on the road to Damascus. 

A few years ago, I read an account written by a medical doctor of her near-death experience.  Her story, like countless other first-hand reports, described the brilliant radiance of heaven.  The veil had been removed from her eyes and heart and she was able to see and feel the light of Christ.  The surround light, warmth, and radiance of God is the subject of next Sunday’s Scripture texts for Transfiguration Sunday.[1]

Long before the gospel accounts of Peter, James, and John’s experience with Jesus’ transfiguration, Old Testament heroes of faith and prophets reflected heaven’s light in their experiences.  In one such account, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the stone tablets with the law, he didn’t realize that “his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant.” (Exodus 34:29-30).  Moses’ face so dazzled the people, that he had to wear a veil until it wore off.  

Paul used Moses to explain his ministry to the church in Corinth.  Referring to the Jews who had not accepted Christ, Paul explains that for them a veil remains in place over their eyes and hearts preventing them from seeing that Jesus is the light of the world: “[T]o this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. . . And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory are being transformed into his image . . . which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (Excerpts, 2 Corinthians 3:14-18).  

When Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to the mountain and became transfigured there into a gleaming figure, he met with Elijah and Moses: “There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking to Jesus.” (Mark 9: 2-9) These events occurred on earth and were witnessed and recorded by eyewitnesses whose vision was unobstructed by veils or curtains. 

 Most of the miracles in the New Testament were performed by Jesus to help others—turning water into wine at a wedding, healing the sick, feeding the masses, and walking on water to calm the sea.  The miracle of the Transfiguration is unique in that it happened to Jesus, and was witnessed by three men who told others about it.   These recorded events give us a glimpse of heaven.  We are privileged to peek behind the curtain to see what lies beyond.  

The Biblical accounts of the transfiguration of Jesus provide visuals of the transforming power of God’s light.  But the wonderful truth is that we do not need to wait until we see Jesus face-to-face to experience God’s radiance.  It is available to us on a daily basis through our interaction with the Holy Spirit.  We are transformed by the Holy Spirit when we lift the barriers to God and see him as he is in his glory and holiness. 

Have you ever spoken to someone whose countenance reflected a Christ-like radiance?  The Holy Spirit shines through pure hearts to reflect God’s love and joy to those around such a person.  You can see it in the person’s eyes, mouth, and body language—which is warm, understanding, and welcoming instead of cold, judgmental, and distant. 

When we are transformed by the light of the Holy Spirit, we are like a light shining in the darkness.   We get to that place when we maintain on-going conversations with God, and invite the Spirit into every part of our being.  There is no room for ill-will and a judgmental attitude when the Spirit inhabits your soul.  Dr. Bill Creasy says that if the Holy Spirit lives in you, you can be assured that he will not be roommates with a demon—he will “kick his butt out!” 

When God lives within you and fills every cell of your body, there is no room for bitterness, anger, animosity, hostility, or hatred to take hold.  Awaken the Spirit within you and ask him to remove any obstacles preventing you from accepting his truth. Ask him to transform you with the light of his truth.  Ask God for the light that shines from within so that you can reflect “God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6b).

Prayer: God of Light, we thank and praise you for removing the veil of nighttime darkness with the rising sun that brings the world into view for us every day.  Remove the obstacles that blindfold us from your truth and open our eyes to your dazzling light, glory, and love.  Flood us each day with your holy light and kick out the dark demons of anger, bitterness, and hostility within us.  Move us closer to you each day and closer to living our lives in harmony with your purposes for us.  

In your Holy Name we pray. Amen.

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for Transfiguration Sunday are 2 Kings 2: 1-12; Exodus 34: 29-35; Psalm 50; 2 Corinthians 3: 12-18; 2 Corinthians 4: 1-6; Mark 9: 2-9. 

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