by Mark Fulmer
Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 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. 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 Corinthians 3:12-15
It felt like "Bandits Only" day at the local grocery-- not a soul in the place without a mask. And it's not just the masks, but the downcast eyes and hustle past that made the search for table carrots truly surreal. Some of the folks were recognizable because they always work the same aisle. With those kind helpers, you could tell they were smiling. But with everyone else, the squint and worry in the eyes seemed to communicate fear, or worse. The place was lonely, isolated in a crowd. Yet this peculiar, anonymous grocery shopping was really just an outward and visible representation of what is all too often an inward and sad reality. Which mask are you wearing today?
The respectability mask is maybe the most common. We know the reality of our shame. And we can never seem to escape our heart's sinful murmurings. So on goes the mask. We hope that if everyone can be made to believe we're "really nice," we'll somehow actually change ourselves. Maybe we can finally become someone we painfully want to be, but know behind our mask that we really aren't.
Similar but more sinister is the religiosity mask. With this mask on snugly, we manage to veil the seething anger that characterizes our thought life. Our religion hides the hurts that enflame our rage. Faith is replaced by weaponized traditions, masking the desperate sense that real peace and heart-joy are myths. At least they never ring true for us. But with enough of the right lingo and chest-out bravado, no one will ever really know.
Yet the glorious promise of scripture is that in Christ, we can finally breathe. The fearful hiding can end. The Lord knows us already, loves us eternally, and works in us continually. God's Word teaches us that by abiding in Jesus, His glory makes the masks meaningless. And in the letter to the Corinthians we read a remarkable truth. The Lord is transforming us. And when at last we see Him "with unveiled faces", we really are changed. We really have become new creations. No need for a mask at all. We bear the likeness of our Savior!
It may be that wearing a surgical mask is no longer just for surgeons. Humanity may be masked from now on. But the Lord Jesus beckons us to come to Him, to rest in Him, and to behold His glory. Then He will gently reach toward us, and with a tenderness unimaginable, take the masks away.
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 we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.