It’s a rainy stormy day in Brookings SD where I am right now. The rain is more gentle at the moment but it was coming down in buckets early this a.m. The wind, of course the wind, it is South Dakota, moved my balcony furniture around. They are huddled in the corner as if to escape the fury of the wind.
Sometimes the Spirit of God is like that, it blows and we don’t know where it is taking us and so we huddle in the corner. Jesus used the metaphor of the wind in John 3 as He conversed with Nicodemus. There was a singer in NYC – not a gospel singer per se because that’s a different genre of music, but he sang scripture, almost chant like. Every song he sang was all scripture – when I think of John 3 I think of him singing in perfect KJV with an operatic tone: The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
So I’m thinking about the wind today as we enter the second week of our Tuesday retreat – where is the wind of God taking you? Are you ready to soar as an eagle dependent on that wind, or are you huddled like my chairs on the balcony? Let the wind blow as you do your mini-retreat and hear what the Spirit is saying to you today.
Remember our scripture? Read it out loud, hear the words with your ears and your heart. This time we’ll hear it from The Message:
2 Corinthians 3:12-18: With that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back. Unlike Moses, we have nothing to hide. Everything is out in the open with us. He wore a veil so the children of Israel wouldn't notice that the glory was fading away—and they didn't notice. They didn't notice it then and they don't notice it now, don't notice that there's nothing left behind that veil. Even today when the proclamations of that old, bankrupt government are read out, they can't see through it. Only Christ can get rid of the veil so they can see for themselves that there's nothing there.
Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We're free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.
Beholding Your Face
Before you do your reflections, I have a question to ask you. Have you ever thought about what You would see if you looked at Jesus face. Some of you may be old enough to remember the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.
A Pastor I had once asked this in a sermon. I’ll never forget it. I was always Miss Busy in the church. In fact, I am one of those people that every Pastor dreams about – I’ll do everything, I can preach, I can teach, I can do administrative work – at that time I did everything from checking the bathrooms for toilet paper early on Sunday morning, the bulletins, the Sunday School/Children’s church, prayer team and preach when he was gone. So you’d think this question would not have disturbed me. It did. Then he looked at the congregation and said, “some of you are afraid to look at the face of Jesus because you are sure He is frowning at you… if you’ll look you’ll see He’s smiling.”
You see, being busy didn’t mean that I thought I was loved or special. It was what I thought I had to do to be tolerated by God. Yep, you heard that right. I still have a hard time when I take the veil off my own self and stand exposed before Christ – I am afraid to look up and see Him – but my Pastor is right – He’s smiling at you – whether like me you are trying to be the dutiful child to be tolerated or you’ve wandered away and feel like you’ve done too much – if you’ll look, you’ll see He’s smiling at you. His eyes are saying I love you.
Find a quiet place, maybe you want to read that scripture again, out loud – now reflect on these things…
- Lord, what is it that prevents me from seeing Your face?
- What messages have I taken in that make seeing You seem foolish or unattainable?
- What things have I tried to substitute for Your face?
- What would change if I saw Your face before me in my everyday life?