Monday, March 9, 2009

Lent 11: Gazing at the Invisible

I was stunned by the implications of a verse in church yesterday. “…we, who with unveiled faces all contemplate [or reflect] the Lord's glory, are being transformed into [Christ’s] likeness…”

If God’s intention is to transform us into Christ-likeness (having the characteristics of Jesus), some of us are missing the point. I had been looking around the congregation, wondering how much difference it makes to be a Christ-follower. Many who claim to be Jesus’ disciples look just like everyone else. They are nice people or not. They pay their taxes or cheat a bit. They are polite or rude. I could see the transforming power of a relationship with God in those around me. They are marked by encounters with the living God.

The questions that grabbed me included: What does it mean to have an unveiled face? What does it mean to contemplate or reflect God’s glory? And if that is what transforms us, why are those of us claiming to be Christians not pursuing that with all our might?

I have no answers. But I’m thinking today about what it would mean… and the courage it would take… to unveil my face for a hard look in the mirror of God’s word. Thinking about the radical transformation that would occur, were I to gaze upon the invisible, awesome God I serve.


God's peace to you today!

*He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. Colossians 1: 15-16 NLT

*[Paul]…do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all contemplate [or reflect] the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3

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