"Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, the skin of his face was shining, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses spoke with them. Afterward all the Israelites came near, and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face; but whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off, until he came out; and when he came out, and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, the Israelites would see the face of Moses, that the skin of his face was shining; and Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with him" (Exodus 34:29-34).


This is a much misunderstood passage. The general assumption is that Moses covers his face because the people could not stand the brightness of his visage as it radiated the Light of God. But that's not what happens. Verse 33 tells us, "When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face." He has the veil off when he "went in before the Lord," and he has the veil off when he "told the Israelites what he had been commanded." It's in what we might call his 'down time,' between visits with God and speeches to the people, that the veil is necessary. It's as if Moses himself needed the veil—and I think that's exactly the metaphysical point.   In order to accomplish our spiritual purpose, we must know, claim and experience our intimate Oneness with God. We must, in fact, be the face of God if we are to transform this human experience into the next dimension of consciousness that Jesus calls “the kingdom of heaven.” We must, as Jesus tells us in his Sermon on the Mount, let our light fully shine. But we must also know when it's time to “dim our light” and engage fully with our humanity. Moses' face was still radiant behind the veil, and the Light of the Christ Presence within us never fades away. But we must pace ourselves, find times to dim the intensity of our spiritual Light so that we can rest, relax and interact with others who might be blinded or frightened by seeing a Light that they are not yet ready to understand or accept. How will when know when to reach for the veil? God's guidance is as constant and certain within us as God's light.   Blessings!

Rev. Ed


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