Daily Devotion 17 June 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

Exodus 34: 29-35 ‘Face Covering’ (abridged slightly)

29 When Moses went down from Mount Sinai carrying the Ten Commandments, his face was shining because he had been speaking with the Lord; but he did not know it. 30 Aaron and all the people looked at Moses and saw that his face was shining, and they were afraid to go near him.  31 But Moses called them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the community went to him, and Moses spoke with them. 32 After that, all the people of Israel gathered around him. 33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he covered his face with a veil.  34 Whenever Moses went into the Tent of the Lord’s presence to speak to the Lord, he would take the veil off. When he came out, he would tell the people of Israel everything that he had been commanded to say, 35 and they would see that his face was shining. Then he would put the veil back on until the next time he went to speak with the Lord.

After Moses had spent time in God’s presence, his face shone with the reflected glory of God. He did not know it was happening but the rest of the Israelites did and were afraid. He was different after being close to God: he was changed. When he spoke, they recognised him and listened, but then he covered his face – he hid God’s reflected glory. The veil was needed to protect others and to protect him from them, until he went back into God’s presence when the veil came off and he could properly enjoy God’s presence.

We are now being told to cover our faces when we are on public transport and go into hospitals and other places, to protect others and to protect ourselves. When we come to God in worship, in prayer we can enjoy being close to him and we too are changed – are different. Our lives should reflect the loving, caring, glory of God and instead of making people shrink from us as they did from Moses, we should be drawn nearer to people (though physically not closer than two metres)! We do not need to cover up showing that we spend time in God’s presence but rather desire to spend more time in his presence so that we can reflect him to his world.

The words of Noel Richards in this modern hymn expresses our desire to spend time in God’s presence.

To be in your presence,
to sit at your feet,
where your love surrounds me,
and makes me complete:
This is my desire, O Lord, this is my desire.
To rest in your presence,
not rushing away,
to cherish each moment –
here I would stay:
This is my desire, O Lord, this is my desire.

Prayer:

Glorious God, you revealed yourself to Moses
and helped him to be the person you would have him be.
Thank you that you revealed yourself to us in the person of your Son, Jesus.
Through your Holy Spirit help us to be the people you would have us to be
and enable us to reflect your love and care in all we think and do and say.
This we ask through Jesus, our Saviour. Amen.

Reflection & Prayer © 2020 Gillian Wood.
‘To Be in Your Presence’ by Noel Richards © 1991, Thankyou Music.
Image freely available online.

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All material within this order of worship is reproduced by permission under CCL 1226356