An Unveiled Face

by Andy Wood on February 14, 2012

in Esteem, Five LV Laws, Life Currency, Love, LV Cycle, Principle of Eternity, Waiting

We don’t wear veils much anymore – certainly not in this culture.  Unless, of course, “we” are a bride on her wedding day.  Nobody from Paris or New York sends skinny models down the runway wearing the latest veil fashions. And chances are, you won’t find them in Macy’s or Chico’s or that fabulously French discounter Target either.

But make no mistake about it.  We still wear them – sometimes for good reason, sometimes not.

Veils are for hiding.  For creating boundaries and secret spaces.  And sometimes that’s a good idea.  Ever meet somebody at a bus stop or party and ask the customary “How are you?” and they tell you?  In detail?  Sorta makes you wish you had a veil (or a gag) in your back pocket.

At other times veils are symbols or expressions of something else.  They are reminders of how broken, how sinful, how messed up we are.  The veil dresses up on the outside what is ugly or painful on the inside.

Veils and the Tales They Tell

Veils speak of waiting.  For better or worse, richer or poorer, they speak in the language of “not yet.”  In Eastern cultures that’s still an expression of female modesty.  But worldwide, in issues of life and death and eternity, the chasm between this world and the eternal next is referred to as a veil.  And while some people we love have crossed that chasm, they remain veiled from us.  And though we yearn for something that Christians refer to as an eternal home, the message from the other side of the veil is, “Not yet.”

Veils are reminders of our sinfulness.  That’s why, when Moses had been in the presence of the Lord and his face was radiant, even his own brother was scared of him.  Solution:  wear a veil.  That’s also why, when God gave instructions for building the tabernacle, he insisted on a veil separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.  Take the thickness of velvet and multiply it times eleven.  That’s how serious He was about testifying that He was holy and we are not.

Veils define and divide love relationships.  The symbolism of the veil being lifted in a wedding ceremony is rich. There the bride is saying to her groom (often with her father’s help or blessing), “I reveal a part of my life to you that is reserved for no one else.”  She may be friend to all – but she is bride to just one.

Veils are our way of hiding what is different about us.  We work hard at covering up the odd, the ugly, the deformed and the painfully distinguishing things about ourselves.  Why?  Because we fear rejection, ridicule, or exposure.  We want to be like the people around us, not different.  That’s why we’re so desperate to follow the trend setters, the fashionistas, and the insiders.  All of that and more are expressions of life behind the veil.

Veils in their most tangible forms have doors with deadbolts, and windows with blinds or shades drawn.  Our own homes are man-made “most holy places” where we say to all but a select few, “Keep Out.”  Even here, in the places where we are most ourselves, we make sure that nobody crosses that threshold unless we are presentable and the closet doors are shut.  We have veils inside our veils.

In their ugliest forms, veils are masks for the shame we carry.  So the alcohol becomes a veil for the pain of rejection; when we’re under the influence we’re funny or relaxed around people.  The sex becomes a fake substitute – a veil – from real intimacy with all its risks and hurts.  The money and debt fills up our outer worlds with things that hide the smallness and brokenness of our inner worlds.  And in a strange twist of irony, the culture idolizes people who do all that.

The Veil Ripper

And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:50-51a, NIV).

Insn’t interesting that the first thing the Bible describes happening after Jesus died is the tearing in two of the veil that symbolically separated a holy God from sinful people?  What is God saying in all that?  He is declaring His Son as the everlasting Veil Ripper.

The death of Jesus tore away the barrier between the sinfulness of humanity and the holiness of God.

The resurrection of Jesus rolled away the stone veil between death and eternal life.

The ascension of Jesus peeled away the veil between a believing human heart and an indwelling Holy Spirit.

The reigning life of Jesus tears away the veils erected by our shame and hiddenness by giving us a new identity completely wrapped up in Him.

And the promised return of Jesus declares for all time that for every believer, one day the waiting will be over.

The Ever-Increasing Glory

As all of us reflect the Lord’s glory with faces that are not covered with veils, we are being changed into his image with ever-increasing glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18, GW).

The veil says, “Wait!”  The Veil Ripper says, “Soon!”

The veil declares our sinfulness.  The Veil Ripper clothes you in righteousness.

The veil marks you with enmity and fear.  The Veil Ripper crowns you with love and life.

The veil divides us and budgets our love.  The Veil Ripper breaks down the walls of enmity and division between us.

The veil cruelly covers how different we are.  The Veil Ripper reveals how like Him we have become.

The veil reminds us how far away from home we are.  The Veil Ripper is preparing a place for His bride, that where He is, there we may be with Him.

The veil masks our sin-driven shame.  The Veil Ripper displays us as His work of art – sin erased… shame forgotten.

One day soon, He’ll be coming or you’ll be going.  And the last veil will be torn away.  With an unveiled face you will see Him in all His glory.  And you will reveal to all – the saints, the angels and even the devil and his demons – the radiant glory He has given you.

No more veils.

No more hiding.

Finally home with the One your soul loves – and gloriously alive.

Until then we wait… and reflect His glory in a world still veiled in darkness.  Set free from the veil, we anticipate with hope and rest in faith that “soon” will soon be “today.”

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