Sunday’s Scripture ~ II Corinthians 3:7-18
On December 23, 2013 Andrew and I celebrated 7 years of marriage. Our wedding day was incredible…and quite damp as I remember it. Surrounded by family and friends…over 400 family and friends…we worshipped and we married. Truly, it was and remains one of the happiest days of my life.
On our wedding day I wore a veil as most brides do. My veil did not come from a store. Andrew’s Aunt Vivian made my custom veil. It was six head-to-knee length layers of tulle and bead and crystal detailing. It had six combs to attach it to my head…which may in fact speak to the size of my head BUT ALSO the weight of this veil. Oh my…it was heavy. But it was worth it. Everyone complimented me on it…including the guys in the local burger drive-thru I visited on my way to the church…and the kind customers at the supermarket that allowed me to go ahead of them in the checkout line to purchase hairspray that would replace all my friend’s hairspray that my locks consumed.
I had a lot going on that day.
My veil was just a veil. There was no blusher in the front – it was all veil down my back. Aunt Vivian asked me if I wanted a blusher and I declined. I never really liked the idea of a blusher – a piece of fabric that would obscure a part of me from Andrew until some predetermined moment. No. He would see me and all of me. We were entering into a solemn covenant together. I could see without obscurity who I was committing to and I wanted Andrew to have the same opportunity.
Bonus for each of us – we liked what we saw.
Greater bonus for each of us – we still do.
In our Scripture passage for this week Paul writes to the Corinthian Christians and urges them to remove the veils in their lives that obscure them from wholly and completely being in the presence of Christ. Veils have a dual function – they obscure vision as I have already mentioned but they are also a barrier. They cause separation. Why would we desire such a separation from our Savior who invites us into solemn covenant as well – the covenant of eternal life?
I think sometimes we want to separate ourselves from Christ. We want to hoist up that veil because we don’t want Christ to see us for who we really are – flawed, self-absorbed, ashamed, broken. If we remove the veil and step into the light of Christ’s glory we will be exposed. We will be truly known.
I believe that God knows who we truly are without stepping into the light of Christ’s glory. But I also believe that God wants us – each individual – each daughter or son of the Most High – to be the one to share who we are with God. It’s okay if it takes time for us to share all of who we are with God. God has the time. God is not going to rip down our veils like a band-aid off chapped skin – in one fell swoop. God will remove the veil, but it will be in good measure and response to where we are. As faith grows and doubt recedes the veil will fall. When that happens we will be in the place that Paul describes in his first correspondence with the Corinthians, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known” (I Corinthians 13:12).
I was so happy to remove my veil at the end of my wedding day. Andrew had to help; it was anchored to my head by six dozen bobbypins. I felt relief. I literally felt a weight lifted. I had freedom to move my head and walk where I wanted without having to be mindful of the veil being caught on someone or something.
A greater freedom is our gift when we remove the veils that separate us and obscure us from our God.
Let the veils fall down.
Prayer: “Finish, then thy new creation; pure and spotless let us be. Let us see thy great salvation perfectly restored in thee; changed from glory into glory, till in heaven we take our place, till we cast our crowns before thee, lost in wonder, love and praise.”* Amen.
*”Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” The United Methodist Hymnal, 384.