veils, mirrors, and faces

I’m working on my sermon for this Sunday, the Last Sunday after the Epiphany. The gospel is always the story of the Transfiguration. This year we hear Luke’s version, which is notable because it does not use the word transfiguration. Luke says only that “the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became dazzling white” (Lk. 9:29). While Luke refers to Jesus’ face, both Exodus and Paul talk about a veil. Moses needs a veil to protect himself when he approached and talked with God. Paul uses that image to draw a contrast between the direct experience of the believer with God.

It puts me in mind of another image from Paul. In I Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face.”

I’ve been reading Thomas Traherne’s Centuries of Meditation. Traherne was a seventeenth-century Anglican priest who wrote extensively. Little of what he wrote was published in his lifetime and manuscripts have been found within the last decade. The Centuries of Meditation were discovered in a used bookshop in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.

I came across this in the Centuries yesterday:

O let me so long eye Thee, till I be turned into Thee, and look upon me till Thou art formed in me, that I may be a mirror of Thy brightness, an habitation of thy Love, and a temple of Thy glory. That all Thy Saints might live in me, and I in them: enjoying all their felicities, joys and treasures.” 63

I hope to write more extensively and seriously on Traherne at some point, but I’m intrigued by that statement “O let me so long eye thee till I be turned into thee.”

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