February 11, 2010


I complain about the Lectionary. A lot. But this week, I need to give some kudos. As we begin the process of moving from Christmas/Epiphany into Lent the lessons selected for Last Epiphany Year C are perfect.

As we prepare for Jesus to be lifted high on the cross and for the curtain of the temple to be torn in two, it only makes sense to deal with the transition from the Old Covenant to the New. Moses (the law) and Elijah (the prophets) stand with Jesus on the holy mountain and "speak of his departure (exodus)." The Old Covenant is not rendered moot be Jesus, but made full. When Elijah and Moses disappear it is not because God has given up on the old way, but because Jesus must walk this new road alone. They are important enough to be given a place at this moment of transition.

This transition is summed up nicely in the interplay between the Exodus text and 2 Corinthians. Moses wore a veil because the Hebrews were desperately afraid of God; as well they should be. They were a royal pain in the butt in the days, months, and years following the Exodus. They complained, the moaned and groaned, they longed for the good old days, and to top it off, when they heard God, they were so scared they told Moses to take care of it, and while he did so, they built a god they could tame and worshiped it instead. Moses face scared them as much as it reminded them of their own idolatry. So Moses wore a veil.

Fast forward to Paul. We have to know that, as a good Jew, Paul isn't throwing out the law of Moses, but reminding people that the veils were self-inflicted. God didn't require the veil; if he did why change Moses' countenance at all? Instead, Paul reminds the Church in Corinth that God has been, is, and for ever will be about removing the veil so as to see him face to face; to see the bright shining light of his glory.

Sure, what God's glory shows us about ourselves is enough to make us want to filter it, but God wants it all; the good, the bad, the ugly, so that he can free us from the fear and the guilt. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. May your veil be lifted so that your likeness might change from glory to glory.

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