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Posts Tagged ‘veil’

For many believers, the “holy city” or “New Jerusalem” represent either some aspect of heaven or a literal reconstruction of the earthly Jerusalem. In any case, this “City-State” is entwined with the “promise” of Godly reconciliation. But do I care?

Hebrews 11:13c, 16
And they [people of faith] admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. . . . they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

There are several references in the New Testament about the City of God and interestingly enough, they begin here, in Hebrews. I believe it’s importance comes from the crucial parts that Jerusalem and the Temple played in the history of Israel and the worship of YHWH, the one true God. For the Israelite, the City was always holy and revered, so much so that even Jesus is recorded as weeping over the city [Luke 19:41-42].

Many cities seem to have personalities and more often than not, they are usually referenced as female: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New Orleans. They have their individuality and their lovers for many, many people love the cities in which they live and they truly grieve at her injuries or misfortunes. But are any of them holy? Do any, particularly here in the U.S., have a mystical history or aura? Would we ever envision a heavenly version of any of our cities?

The derivation of the word city seems to come from the Latin, civitas or civitatem, which could be loosely translated as community of citizens. It would make more sense then, to imagine the “Holy City” — that long awaited one, that New Jerusalem — not so much as a place, but a gathering . . . of people, of souls, of energy, of life. In Bible times and even long after that, most cities or castles also had a tower of safety, or keep deep within for its people, or its royalty, to seek asylum. In the first Jerusalem, this place of safety was the Temple (and deeper still, behind the veil, in the Holy of Holies) because of the presence of God. The New Jerusalem, then, this aggregate faithful could also have God in its midst.

This might be what I really care about then: not some enormous “city” coming down out of the sky like an alien ship, blinking with lights and gold, but the ultimate union of my spirit with the Holy Spirit and then, joining with all the other “faithful.”

When we are walking, talking, living in tandem with the Holy Spirit, “light” radiates and others are drawn to it like moths to a living flame. We are the Holy City, the church, the civitatem of Christ.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” [Philippians 3:20-21]

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With each day that the veil of my heart is down, the more accessible and available I am for transformation and change. Isn’t that why I keep pulling the veil back up? Transformation is not easy. Old things must pass away and the new is unpredictable.

II Corinthians 3:18
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

I have always considered myself as some kind of agent for change. It’s even part of my personal mission statement, “to inspire meaningful change . . . ” But when it’s my own change, my own transformation, I am a little more reluctant. Oh, I can change my hair, my weight, my clothes, and all the other external trappings. I can change my job and change my tasks. I can change the way I work. But in all of those things, I am in charge. I control the change.

The next step in my Journey requires a submission to the work of Holy Spirit. It’s moving into something more unfamiliar. It’s giving permission to the relationship I have with God to manifest differently.

What does it really mean to be a believer, to love God with my whole heart, soul and mind? What does it really mean to love others, to love my neighbor as myself, to love unconditionally, to the love the unlovely (an not just on a mission trip, but every day).

My theme song for many years has been, “Refiner’s Fire.” But the dross is so familiar, so comfortable, and yet so meaningless in the bigger picture.

I’m still afraid.

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A veil can work two ways. It can protect what is within from outside eyes, but it can also hinder seeing clearly. Which veil do I still wear?

II Corinthians 3:15-16
Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

I can attest that I experienced a literal dropping of a mental veil when I read the New Testament through for the first time back in 1979 and as a result, acknowledged that Christ was real and had accomplished that mysterious feat of covering my sins with His blood sacrifice and reestablishing a way between me and God. One day the whole thing was gobbledy-gook and the next day, I saw truth in the words. The dropping of that veil was an enlightenment.

But I wonder now, if I haven’t raised a different kind of veil. Much like the Middle Eastern hijab or burqah, am I still hiding behind a veil of the heart? Am I concealing myself from people around me? When I consider the glory within and how I have shuttered it, isn’t that just another description of the veil?

For glory to pass through, the veil must be down. For love to pass back and forth, the veil must be down. This is about transparency and authenticity. This is about trust.

Over the years, I have struggled again and again with disappointment. It’s been a powerful clip-on for the veils in my life. To keep out disappointment, I push away dreams and hopes. To keep out fallible people, I raise standards. To shield myself from the judgment of others, I send out my own arrows of judgment (the best defense being a strong offense).

It is not the way.

Give me courage this day to drop the veil and to reveal myself and with me, the glory that is Christ Jesus. I believe Jesus was comfortable in every setting and with every kind of person because he was open, he was veil-less, he was accessible.

This is my passion for today.

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