“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” is a famous line from The Wizard of OZ. The wizard portrayed himself as some kind of god, but it turned out that the Wizard was not all he was cracked up to be. When Toto pulled back the curtain, Dorothy and her entourage discovered an ordinary man with a loud speaker and a bunch of gadgets. The word “veil” in Hebrew means a screen, divider or separator that hides. You could say, the Wizard was hidden behind a veil. The challenging question for today is this: When it comes to us and our faith, is it time for us to remove our veil?
Through a veil, things are not quite what they appear. Trust me, I know this all too well. In 2014 my optic nerve was permanently damaged by my MS. Now I see all things through a visual veil of fog. My wife tires of hearing me ask her as she drives us somewhere “is it foggy out?” Her response is usually: “No, it is your eyes; it is actually a beautiful sunny day.” I can’t do anything to remove my visual veil, but I can do something to remove my spiritual veil and you can too.
In The Wizard of OZ, Toto was the one who tore back the curtain and revealed the Wizard. When it comes to our faith, Matthew tells us, it was Jesus who tore back the veil of the temple. “And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split.” (Matthew 27:51)
This should cause us to ask why the temple was veiled to begin with. To answer this, we need to go all the way back to Moses. In Exodus 34:33-35 we see that Moses, after speaking with God, put a veil over his face, because his face was radiant. So when he was with God his face was unveiled, but with others he veiled his face.
Now let’s fast forward to The Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was a very sacred placed that lay within the Holy Place inside of the temple. This was God’s chosen dwelling place amongst His people. The Holy of Holies was veiled off from the Holy Place itself. If anyone other than a High Priest entered the Holy of Holies he was struck dead, and even the High Priest could only enter once a year on the Day of Atonement. (Hebrews 9:7) The veil symbolically separated Holy God from sinful man. “Your eyes are too pure to look upon wickedness, and the sight of evil you cannot endure.” Habakkuk 1:13
But we all know what happened at the time of Jesus’ death. When He died, the curtain in the Jerusalem temple was torn in half, from the top to the bottom. When the Holy of Holies was exposed, God now became accessible to all.
Now let’s see what this has to do with you and I today. Paul sheds light on this topic in 2 Corinthians 3:12-18. He states: “Therefore, since we have such hope, we act very boldly and not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites could not look intently at the cessation of what was fading.” Paul tells us that many of the people had veiled their hearts and were unable to recognize Jesus for who He really was, the Son of God.
Paul told us above to act boldly, do we? He says: “but whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed.” Further on he states; “All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
I have written many times in these 4th Day Letters about our propensity to hide our sinfulness behind the false masks/veils that we wear so that others won’t see our faults. Today I am talking about something completely different. Today I am talking about our timidity as it pertains to our faith. In addition to hiding our faults, are we also hiding our faith behind our veil? Are we unwilling to speak up an let others know we are followers of Jesus Christ?
Through Jesus’s death on the cross, the veil was torn apart. Jesus bore our sins so that all who believed in Him could have eternal life. We can now clearly see the mercy of our Heavenly Father. We now have the gift of the Holy Spirit so that we can answer our call to boldly proclaim Christ’s Kingdom. The question is this: Are we doing this?
Those Israelites who rejected Jesus refused to lift their veil. Will we refuse to lift ours? Will we refuse to let others know we are followers of Jesus Christ? Will we remain silent about how Jesus has rescued us from our sins? There are many lost and hurting people in our world. Will we come out from behind our veil so that they can see Christ in us? Moses’ face was radiant after He encountered God. Does our face radiate as a result of our encounter with God? We must make a decision. We can either lift our veils and let our Christian radiance shine or we can hide our faith behind our veil. Which will you choose to do today?
Heavenly Father, your Son tore open the veil that separated us from you. You have sent your Holy Spirit to embolden us to proclaim the message of salvation through Jesus. Help us to take off our veil and answer our call, amen!