Tuesday, September 8, 2020

For Online Service September 6, 2020

By Pat Russell



Considering the sermon by Pastor Bruce on September 6, 2020


I have often longed to be able to “see” the face of God. By that I mean that I long to experience Him like I experience another person, a presence that is tangible. Not a sense of “Someone there” but in a “human sense – touch, see, smell, taste, hear” kind of experience.


One day I was asking the Lord about this and I believe that He gave me this thought which I wrote in my journal, “As I sit here this morning, You say to me, ‘I am a different being.’ I think that I keep trying to make You a human being that I simply cannot see. But You are not. Yes, of course, I know that You are different, but I believe You are saying something about how I as a human being relate to You as non-human… We humans only have the context of human-personal relationship, but You contain the human personal and are also so much more. How can I experience that? Maybe I simply cannot and must find a place of contentment in how I can experience You as I live my human being life.”


As God continued to deal with this desire of my heart, I came to this scripture in Exodus 33:12-23 on another day:


Moses and the Glory of the Lord


12 Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”


14 The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”


15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”


17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”


18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”


19 And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have

compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”


21 Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”


I wrote this in my journal after meditating on this passage: “This was a great lectio for my soul this morning. It is all about Moses’ plea for Your presence and how You handled that. It is so incredible that You hid him in the cleft of the rock, let him see Your goodness and how You protected him by not letting him see Your face.”


I thought, “I see God when I see GOODNESS in this world and that is how He meant it to be.” Then I thought how God has allowed us to see HIS face in the face of Jesus the Christ. Jesus is pure Goodness. God contained himself in human form so that we might have that longing met. As Pastor Bruce has quoted many times through this series, “For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” (I Cor. 4:6)


And yet, total knowledge has yet to have been granted us. That comes with our death. Today Pastor Bruce said, “In this life, however, Paul tells us that we only see Jesus through a glass darkly or only as a reflection in a cloudy mirror. He says, now we only know Jesus partially but then we shall see him face to face.” (I Cor. 13:12) as he paraphrased Scripture for us.


As a beautiful conclusion to the theme, “Encounters with Jesus,” Pastor Bruce gave us many examples of human beings who have tasted (and I use that human sensory word intentionally) that glory and then were able to give us a foreshadowing of what is to come, both in Holy Scripture and in human experience form.


So, with all of this being written, I ask you to ponder what you heard in the sermon or read in this writing that you would like to contemplate more? Did a particular thought or word of scripture or an example touch your emotions? Why do you think that happened?


What do you think about your death? To what do you look forward? What makes you afraid? What do you long for when you see Jesus, face to face? What would you like him to say or do? What do you think you will say or do?


Spend some time talking with Him about Your longing.


As a benediction to my contemplation on this mystery, I recalled a song from my early church years. Perhaps you know it and would like to sing with these words:


He Hideth My Soul


A wonderful saviour is Jesus my Lord
A wonderful Saviour to me
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
Where rivers of pleasure I see


He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land
He hideth my life in the depths of his love
And covers me there with his hand
And covers me there with his hand


A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord
He taketh my burden away
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved
He giveth me strength as my day


He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land
He hideth my life in the depths of his love
And covers me there with his hand
And covers me there with his hand


When clothed in His brightness
Transported I rise
To meet Him in Clouds of the sky
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love
I'll shout with the millions on high


He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land
He hideth my life in the depths of his love
And covers me there with his hand
And covers me there with his hand


Source: Musixmatch


Songwriters: William James Kirkpatrick / Patti Drennan / Fanny Crosby

He Hideth My Soul lyrics © Hal Leonard Publishing Corp., Glorysound, A Div. Of Shawnee Press, Inc.


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