Sunday, March 03, 2019

Living with Great Boldness and Hope

Luke 9:28-36 & 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:1 by Rev. David L.S. Robertson
Series:Winter 2019 - Called to be the Church

How does one hold Paul’s words of great boldness and hope on the one hand and deal with the way he disses Moses on the other hand? It’s challenging to come alongside such a difficult text. And what is Paul referring to when he mentions Moses’s veil? How could anyone use the name of Moses negatively when comparing examples of the mystery of God at work? Paul’s words in II Corinthians seem to contradict the Gospel of Luke where Elijah, Moses and Jesus appear together in order to convey that profound connection between the message of Jesus and the traditions of the Jewish faith—the story of the transfiguration links the lineage of tradition and faith between the teachings of Jesus and the history Judaism. Huge hope here, great boldness in the gospel message. But Paul seems to struggle as he tries to effectively convey the same hope in his second letter to the Corinthians. Something is stuck for Paul. Let’s clarify Paul’s reference to the veil over Moses’ face. This story originates in Exodus Chapter 34. It’s a curious story. After Moses comes away from his encounter with God, the skin on his face shone because he had been talking with God (Ex.34:29). The people were quite fearful of this. So, after Moses finished speaking with his people, he put a veil over his face until the next time he went to speak with God when he would remove the veil. The veil is as way of mitigating the powerful effects of being in the presence of God. It softens the glow in order to make Moses’ face tolerable in the presence of his people. More generally, the veil also serves a symbolic role as that which mediates and separates the divine realm from the earthly realm. Consider for example the veil that is torn in the temple at the time of Jesus’ death on the cross. Paul however does not speak kindly of the Moses’ veil or perhaps wisely. But I think I understand what he was trying to say.
Duration:13 mins 57 secs