Maybe it’s happened to you as you’ve been driving down the road on a beautiful sunny day. You find yourself appreciating the sun more than usual, as you just came off of an entire week of gloom and rain. You had been waiting for the sun to shine and now it is. It is shining so brightly that you have to don your sunglasses as you smile behind the shade that they provide. Then as you pull up to a stoplight, you find yourself behind a car that suddenly gives you reason to curse the sun. Hanging from the rearview mirror is a crystal that reflects, and seems to magnify, the sun’s brightness, dispensing it in all directions. A beautiful treasure that you might appreciate in the controlled environment of a novelty store is suddenly blinding you with such great force that even behind your sunglasses you find you must squint. Such blinding sight doesn’t come only through a poorly placed crystal, but through the faithfulness of a man many years ago. The Israelites were waiting.
They were waiting for Moses to return from his meeting with Yahweh. They had been here before in this time of waiting – and last time the golden calf was the result. So far this time they had not slipped back into the land of idolatry, but one could suspect that they were surely getting impatient. Where was that Moses anyway?
Aaron reminded them that Moses had gone again to meet with God on their behalf…to seek forgiveness for what they had done wrong…to see if somehow Yahweh could find it in the heart of the divine to renew the covenant.
Maybe patience is a virtue after all. So they waited…then they were met by a spectacular site – one that blinded them for a moment and set them to wondering just what had happened – Moses’ face refused to keep it a secret.
He came carefully down the mountainside carrying a newly carved set of tablets in his arms. He was shining. His appearance had been changed. Moses hadn’t even realized that this transformation had taken place. This new found glow of Moses was a message to a people from their God – “This is my chosen one – listen to him. He speaks my word.” – a message that reminded them that Moses was not a self-appointed leader seeking power, but rather one who was called by God (and responded reluctantly) to an important task.
Although we do not have Moses standing before us with his face shining, like the Israelites, we do have opportunities to see God’s word being embodied in those who God has called into service. Look around. Who are the ones among us whose faces are shining with God’s glory? Is it the 93-year-old whose hearing impairment prevents her from contributing in what we consider “an acceptable fashion” to most conversation, but whose story of faith stops us in our tracks and requires that we reconsider where God is on our priority list?
Look around. Whose face is shining? Is it the first time visitor, the one who is seeking to draw closer to God and to find a community that will nurture his faith, the one who after only an hour with us could tell us a lot about ourselves and who could bring us a new world and a new challenge from God…if only we would listen?
Look around. On any given day, at any given time, any one of us might come face to face with the glory of God as the face of one of the faithful shines and as the life of one of the faithful becomes a living witness to God’s word. Through those whose faces shine brightly today, God is transforming our lives as well. Thanks be to God.
See you Sunday, Rick