Monday, August 17, 2020

God's Unveiled Glory

God is on a journey with his children. He designed us to be empowered by living in His presence. Unfortunately, sin and selfishness so marred the relationship that His Glory, which is meant to give us our light and life, can traumatise us.

As refugees in the desert, God’s children asked Moses to put a veil over his face. He’d been with God. He was radiant. Just looking at him hurt their eyes. So, he did. And he would only lift the veil when he went into God’s presence for council and when he spoke on God’s behalf to the people.

As residents in Israel, God’s children kept God behind a veil. The holy of holies was behind a layered curtain said to be as thick as a man’s hand. God’s presence radiated there, behind the curtain above the Ark of the Covenant. The High Priest alone passed beyond that curtain just once a year.

When Jesus died, that veil tore from top to bottom. No longer would Moses walk out, veil lifted, with new Glory to reveal. No longer would the High Priest make the yearly journey into God’s presence. Jesus, in his life and death, revealed God’s glory. And, as it was finished on the cross, the veil was lifted and God’s Glory filled the Earth.

Now, the apostle Paul says, the only spiritual veils, after the cross, are worn by people who do not want to see God’s Glory. Today, God’s children worship, pray, serve and sing, in His presence, soaking it up. Then they walk into the world with unveiled faces and radiate His love to everyone. 

I love road trips. I’ve driven from Melbourne to Yowah many times. Yowah is an outback mining town in south-west Queensland. It takes 15 hours of non-stop driving to get there from here. My Dad likes to mine for opal and I like to visit him. The journey is always richer with one of the kids tagging along.

Factoring in a few stops for meals, stretching and petrol, it’s good to leave home mid-afternoon.

At the start of the road trip the kids are always busy. They look out the windows and play games with licence plate numbers and road signs. Can you get from A to Z first? Then you play “I spy with my little eye.” 

As day turns into evening the screens come on. As they watch or play something, you listen to an audiobook. When their headphones come off, you turn off the stereo and chat. The little one has relaxed into the journey. The conversation wanders through whatever topics come up.

Then darkness comes. And they fall asleep. You relax into a chat with God. Thanks for the good road. Thanks for my family. Thanks for safety. Thanks for loving us. The conversation ebbs and flows through the night. It moves from tonight’s 1400km journey to the lifetime journey He is leading you on. Thanks for this life. Thanks for the future. What’s next, Lord?

As morning comes in outback Australia, you’re driving through a deep mist that hugs the red dirt and low scrub. Every new photon of white light refracts in one of the billions of droplets of dissipated water. Slowly the sun peaks over the horizon and the white foggy fields turn radiant gold.

“Oh Wow!” You whisper. Your voice interrupts the sleepy silence.

Little one wakes up in the backseat and sits up. She stretches and yawns, “What, Dad?”

“Just look,” you say.

She looks - into the sunrise. Big red kangaroos bound through the golden fog filled fields. Leaping toward the sun.

“Wow.” She says, mesmerised. “That is so beautiful!”

“It really is,” you say.

You both stare into the sunrise as the sun silently changes from a blip to a bubble to a ball. Darkness is gone. The world is lit.

Then she asks her favourite question, “But why, Dad?”

You look into the mirror and see her little face, bathed in the sun’s light. She’s radiant. “What dear?”

“Why?” She repeats. “WHY is it so beautiful?”

“Because, little one,” you say pausing to look at her in the mirror, “Because God LOVES US all, so very much.”

She takes the answer silently, sits back into her seat and looks out the side window. The veil of mist has lifted and a mob of kangaroos stand like sentinels. They each stretch tall, facing the sun – their faces aglow.

“He really does, doesn’t He?” she whispers.

“He loves US ALL, so very much.” 

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