First Congregational Church Winter Park
Moses put a veil on his face. - Exodus 34:33b
Do you remember in the movie “The Ten Commandments” when Charlton Heston comes down from Mt. Sinai, how different he looks? In the Biblical account, he descends from the mountain shining with a glow from being in the presence of God. It was freaking people out, so he had to put a veil on his face to dim down a bit.
Being around people who really “shine” with the presence of God is always a blessing if even a little humbling. I have been blessed to be in the presence of such people throughout my life, and one that immediately comes to mind was Father Anthony Padovano, leader of “The Inclusive Community.” TIC rented space in both of the churches I served in NJ (they followed me from one to the other) and gave me my tie-die “Be Transformed” stole that I wear. Anthony served as their spiritual leader for many years, and he is one of the most accomplished and compassionate people that I’ve ever known. He truly shines with God’s spirit, and I always felt inadequate in his presence. Yet, he was always the most humble of men and made you feel that you were the most important person in the room. That, too, was a humbling experience.
Truly being in God’s presence with people like Anthony sometimes moves us to feel like they need to put on a veil because the force of that presence is almost too much for us to absorb or experience.
Sometimes, being in God’s presence can freak us out like Moses freaked out the Israelites.
Yet, it should also cause us to consider how brightly we shine, ourselves. Anthony would be the first to remind me that the same thing I experienced in him is within me, as well, and we both have it in equal measure. It’s just a matter of how much we decide to shine.
In these days that continue to challenge and frustrate us, shine brightly, friends.
God Of Light, let your presence shine out of us so brightly that people want us to put on a veil.