Living Unveiledby Lydia Powers
There are moments in worship that seem to last an eternity. A simple chorus gives us a glimpse of a facet of the beauty of Jesus, and we sing it over and over. These are the minutes—and sometimes hours— that God marks with his power and divine goodness. And he adds value to every second he inhabits, simply by his relatable interaction, by choosing to touch the earth, and lingering sweetly in our midst.
The funny thing is, while God is not bound by the time that he created, he chooses to work within it. When heaven touches earth, the framework of time within all that is being worked is automatically, and without option, forced to change. The days are no longer the same when they have held divine interaction. His spirit adds dimension, color, and dynamics that never before existed. In other words, a minute in God’s presence is worth a thousand anywhere else.
“Everything is meaningless,” echoed the longing heart of Solomon. He articulated the ache that all of us feel at one point or another: I know there’s more than what I’ve seen. In the hands of mankind, even divine moments are merely extra volume, bits of clatter, unless we are intentional to go beyond an experience that ends with the service.
Even in moments where the Lord marks history, he seldom removes the power of choice from the hands of mankind. Yes, new information is unavoidable; God is always revealing more of his heart and his nature. But when God demonstrates his nature in real time and space, it’s not just to give us data that we can log in our timelines and feeds. He wants more from us than a great Tweet or Instagram post. He’s giving us the chance to work the new knowledge into the narrative of our lives and be changed by it.
Without a story through which to attach meaning, data is truly meaningless.
This is part of the beauty of the human condition. Think about it: nothing else in all of creation can work new information into the story of its life like a human. Like yeast causing dough to rise, we —sweet, fragile, powerful humanity —have the ability to integrate the experiences we have and allow them to change us.
So, when Jesus touches our moment of time, we have this same choice to make. Do we walk away with information or with a renewed resolve to be changed? And once we decide we want change, how do we do our best to make sure that it takes place?
We must live with unveiled faces.
The author of Corinthians lays the groundwork for the process of this transformation. “And we all with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
What does this mean?
First, we must recognize that true, lasting change cannot follow merely adhering to rules of religion. Yes, the Ten Commandments and the Law, are very important. They set the stage, to train us in righteousness and reveal mankind’s sin and inability to access communion with God from outward intentions alone. Unless combined with the revelation of the cross, abiding by the Law only allows humans to access momentary connection with the Lord. The spectrum of time as a whole is yet unchanged because a heart still remains that carries the weight of failure and sin.
To live with unveiled faces means that we have recognized that the story of God continued beyond mankind’s acquaintance with the Law-giver, that the God of Sinai is extending his own hands in a full wingspan of grace.
As the writer of Corinthians stated, “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 God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ”
I picture Jesus, with outstretched hands, as the savior who is laying hold of one moment to embrace all of time – changing the narrative of history forever. His sacrifice, and our subsequent faith therein, gives us access to experience the fullness of the God who longs to invade and abide in our lives. Like Moses on Mt. Sinai, the veiled barrier marred by sin has been removed, and we are invited to behold the beauty of the Lord in his fullness.
We must contemplate the Lord’s glory.
We must choose dwell in the beautiful reality that the sacrifice for our sin has been accomplished and is fully enough.
We must live here: Jesus.
Jesus is enough, and our adherence to the Law can neither add nor detract from the blood that has covered all of time, forever. To be transformed beyond momentary bliss, to lay hold of his heart in every flashpoint moment, we must take the information that has been entrusted to us in each experience with God, and view him alone as our end and our intention.
Herein lies the difference between having an experience with God and living a life transformed by God.
We must think profoundly and at length on him and what he has done because contemplation yields transformation.
As we continue to behold him, we will continue to become like him.
From glory to glory, from strength to strength.
Until the clouds break, and the trumpet sounds.
Until Christ appears and “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”