Monday, July 13, 2015

The Freedom Of True Spirituality (part 1)

True Spirituality is SPIRITUAL (hence the name “spirituality”). If we produce spirituality out of ourselves, then it’s really“HUMANISM” and we lock ourselves down to this realm in which we die.

“ . . . not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.” [2 Cor. 3:13 ESV]

Moses veiled his face when he came down the mountain for two reasons (Ex 34:29 ff). The first reason is that the people were afraid to come near him. Paul elaborates that Moses veiled his face because the glory faded revealing he was not a spiritual superhero, but human--and humanity comes to an end. 

When we create our own spirituality, we put up a veil, a false front that protects our reputation, our humanistic individuality. Remember the Wizard of Oz telling Dorothy, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” There is no freedom in hiding.

“But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.” [2 Cor 3:14-15 ESV]

The second reason Moses veiled his face was because the people were blinded (lit. “made hard”--like stone) in their own spirituality. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne (mid-1800’s) wrote a short story that students and scholars still discuss today called: “The Minister’s Black Veil.” The Parson appears one day wearing a black veil and the townspeople immediate begin to gossip: they never talk about the veil, but instead say the Parson’s lost his mind, or is hiding a shameful sin. Parson Hooper goes about his daily life as if nothing is different, never responding to the people’s whispers. He preaches and does his daily duty, but everyone in town is impacted by the mystery. When he attends the funeral of a young woman, the people guess there was an adulterous affair (he SHOULD wear the veil!) but they can’t be sure. When he attends a wedding the joy turns to gloom as people stare and wonder what’s going on behind the veil.

Even while on his deathbed the Parson wears the veil. The minister uses his dying breath to give us the only clue we have as to why he wore the veil: you are all hypocrites, everyone wears a black veil, shielding their eyes from God as they draw around themselves people who make them comfortable. When the Parson dies he is buried with his face covered.

The Old Covenant was a preview of what was coming and they could not see it. The people were blinded in their own spirituality.

Popular Posts