I have been living in 2 Corinthians 3 this last week in preparation for our Celebration Service this Sunday and have been blown away. What Paul claims is nothing less than if we turn to Jesus, the veil separating us from God will be taken away and we will encounter his glory – and be changed! Through the grace of Jesus and the power of the Spirit we are ushered into presence of God, nothing now separating us from the creator of the universe!
Glory is an interesting word in the scriptures. It means weightiness – hence the glory of God is his presence, his weight, his character that leaves a mark. In the OT Moses encounters the glory of God and has to veil his face when he meets with the people. It is too much even though it is ultimately fading glory. The astonishing claim through Jesus is that this veil gets taken away and we can fully encounter the glory of God. And it is this weightiness that we often encounter when we gather and we worship. The Holy Spirit comes and we feel the glory of God pressing down on us – revealing his presence to us. It is a joyful ecstasy to know God in this way, and if we are open to his Holy Spirit coming and revealing himself to us, we can enjoy the very presence of the living God.
Why does this matter?
Because it gives us hope and it encourages us to be bold. Hope because we now have face to face access to God just like Moses did, but in an even more extraordinary way. 2 Corinthians 3 suggests that it is in this encounter that leads to freedom and being transformed into God’s likeness. Think the fruit of the Spirit being formed in us – his character, his power, his peace. And boldness because we are now assured of who God is and what we are called to do. Simply we are to carry and give away this glory!
This Christmas get to know the glory of God. In John 1 it says we have beheld his glory – and it is full of grace and truth. Through the Gospels we read of people meeting Jesus and being changed. Sinful men and women like you and me. The veil is taken away – they encounter glory and are changed. Sickness is healed, evil spirits are cast out, good news is received, circumstances are overcome. And thankfully this is not just a history book – it is the same stories that emerge today in our churches.
How have you encountered the glory of God this year? Has it brought hope, has it changed your life, has it made you bold? Go with peace to love and serve the Lord!