Reflections: January 28, 2021
Thursday after the Transfiguration
By Jacob Ehrhard
And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. (Exodus 34:33)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The glory of God is a blinding light. Moses could not look directly upon God's glory or he would die. Even speaking to God's backside resulted in a forever-altered countenance. Like the moon reflecting the sun, Moses' face shone with God's glory when he came down the mountain with God's Law. But unlike the moon, Moses' face shone so brightly he needed a veil.
A veil is a perfect metaphor for how the Law reveals God. So perfect, in fact, that the Holy Spirit uses it. "Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts" (2 Corinthians 3:15). The Law is a revelation of the will of God, but it's a little fuzzy.
This is not to say that the Law is deficient. The deficiency lies in us. If we could behold the full glory of God, we wouldn't need a veil. God veils Himself for our sake, not for His. But it wouldn't do to keep the veil on. A bridegroom wants to see his bride's face.
"But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed" (2 Corinthians 3:16). Only through Christ is the veil taken away. He meets us at the altar and shows us God, not as a stern rule-maker, but as a loving husband. In Christ, we behold the glory of God in an entirely new way. The Law is the veiled revelation of God's Will, but Christ is God's Will in the flesh.
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:14, 17).
God is unveiled for you weekly at the Divine Service. When the Gospel is proclaimed, the veil is lifted at the altar and God is revealed--God in the flesh, though hidden under bread and wine. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Here, O my Lord, I see Thee face to face; Here would I touch and handle things unseen; Here grasp with firmer hand the eternal grace, And all my weariness upon Thee lean. ("Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face" LSB 631, st.1)
- Rev. Jacob Ehrhard is the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church and School in Chicago, IL.
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