View print-optimized version

Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, February 26, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  2 Corinthians 3:12–4:2

Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside. But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.

Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God. (NRSV)

Reflection
We must always read Paul with one eye on his context. As one of the early Christians, and as a man raised Jewish himself, when Paul reinterprets Hebrew scripture through a Christian lens, he often tries to show that he has chosen the right path and his other Jewish neighbors have not. He uses Greek rhetorical styles of argument that sometimes rely on a strong dualism. It is easy to read these verses as a criticism of Jews, and over the course of history many Christians have done so, even using verses like these to foment violence against Jewish communities.

We can honor our scriptures without setting up this dualism. Paul respected the Hebrew scriptures. In his letter to the church in Rome he says that the law is holy, and the commandments holy, just, and good (Romans 7:12). He then went on to describe the internal struggles he had to follow the commandments, something with which we can all identify.

In today’s reading in 2 Corinthians, Paul speaks of veiled understanding—that humans do not always see clearly the holiness, the glory of God. Paul retells the story of Moses’ veil, giving it a new spin, a new interpretation, to help us imagine what illumination feels like. When we remove the metaphorical veil from our faces, we can begin to see the image of God in each other, since “all of us . . . are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” Seeing God in each other is like “seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror.”

Prayer
God of Grace, remove the veils from our minds that prevent us from seeing you in each other. Help us to honor you by honoring each other. Help us to forgive ourselves when we struggle to do so. Amen.

Written by Nanette Sawyer, Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Small Group Ministry

Devotion index by date | Id like to receive daily devotions by email