Sermon Synopsis 2 Corinthians 3:1-18

“Pull the Veil Away”

Living in Western Michigan most of us have had the experience of admiring that little white house in the neighborhood; the fence is painted to match and the yard is immaculate. On a sunny day in the autumn we cannot imagine a lovelier setting… until the first fresh snow falls and contrasts against the house and we realize that what we thought was bright white was in comparison a dull reality.

In his letter to the Corinthians Paul refers to Moses’ face literally shining after his encounters with God and as time passed the “glory” slowly fading away. Paul seems to suggest that Moses did not want people to witness his humanity steadily overtaking the spiritual “glory” so he hid himself behind a veil until the process was completed.  

I wonder how many of us have experienced a similar feeling. We attend a weekend retreat or other event that brings us to a spiritual high only to slowly feel the glory fade away as the dull reality of life takes over.

Maybe you have known people who you suspected put on that glory like painting makeup on their faces. They have perfect marriages and perfect children; you know this because they write about them in their Christmas letters. They are more than willing to point out the imperfections of others as they project themselves as bearers of a more perfect truth. Sometimes we are temporarily taken in by them but there is always a point where we see the reality behind the curtain.

We see Paul’s own humanity in the book of Acts when he rejects Barnabas’ plea to allow John Mark to redeem himself after disappointing them in an earlier mission. Paul seems to have forgotten that it was Barnabas, at the beginning of Paul’s ministry, who had pleaded to the church leaders in Jerusalem to accept the sincerity of Paul’s redemption as he changed both his name and his heart.

I love how Scripture shows us again and again how God can use broken vessels to carry his truth…

Paul now argues that the church should see beyond the dull light of the old covenant which is outshined by the new covenant in Jesus Christ. Paul urges us to see each other through a spiritual lens. We are to look, not at the external glory that comes through our words, our dress or even our actions; a glory that fades. But to look instead for the spirit that is reflected in the world through the grace of Christ. We are the imperfect painted house but it is the brighter truth of Christ’s love all around us like the clean snow laid at our feet that better reflects Gods love for the entire world.

[Announcements:]

ü This Ash Wednesday, February 10 we will hold silent communion from 7-8AM and 4:30-5:30PM. You are welcome to stop by and sit for a moment and then come forward to receive communion and be offered the sign of the ash.

 

ü This Sunday, February 14 the Crafters invite you to a complementary Valentines Brunch from 9:30-11:30 in the Fellowship Hall.

 

ü Sundays February 21, 27th and March 6th Rev Dan is leading a discussion series entitled Presbyterianism 101. Who are we as Presbyterians?  What do we believe?  ...about Jesus?  ...about Scripture?  ...about the Sacraments?  ...about the world we live in?  What does it mean to be a member of the Spring Lake Presbyterian Church?  How do we conduct the business of the church, and how do we associate with other levels of our denomination?  What do we disagree about and how do we disagree?  What does the future of the church look like?