Friday, February 12, 2010

pondering 2 Cor 3 and the child

In the second half of 2 Cor 3 Paul is pondering the contrast between the old and new covenants. [Marriage is a covenant. Did you ever see a young couple glow?]

There's the Holy Spirit again: (vs 6 NIV) "He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."

The Spirit gives life. A simple truth for children? How do you impart that simple truth to children?

vs 9"If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! 10For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. 11And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! 12Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 13We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. "

Glory? Hope? How do you impart that to children? Glory that fades. Glory that lasts. Hope that makes us bold.

Maybe explaining and understanding doesn't matter. There is a story here about a man named Moses. His face glowed when he was in the presence of God but the people didn't know how to handle that (is that a valid assumption?) so he covered his face every time he came back to them after being in the presence of God.

Moses covered his face because the glow from his being w/ the Lord was too much for the people around him. Instead of saying, "Get over it" he covered his face around the people and uncovered his face before God. He wasn't a woman covering her face. He was a man.

Christ Jesus says, you don't have to cover your face anymore. Take it off.

Here's the Holy Spirit again.
"17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And 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."

Maybe an activity for kids, maybe not. Imagine covering your face all day unless you're with your spouse or family and Jesus saying - you don't need to do that anymore. Glow for all the world to see. Show them the glow of your love, your joy, your devotion.

The simple of it? "the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."

What is freedom? And we immediately think in terms of conditions and exceptions...but is that the freedom Paul is talking about? What does freedom mean to a child? What does it mean to have the cloth taken from your face? What does it mean to see glory? But then my grown up mind asks, what does it mean to be changed, to be transformed into His likeness? We were created in His image? We are transformed into His likeness? Are they the same or are they different? Does it matter?

Do you see how Paul's words in Corinthians will make more sense once you've absorbed the story of Moses? First you need to hear the story and ponder it over and over and over. Do you see how you can start stories (without explanations) much earlier than explanations and interpretations and that hearing God's stories over and over from the time you're small gives the story time to do its work through all our developmental stages and experiences?

His Word never returns to Him empty without accomplishing what He intends it to accomplish. So if we are true to His stories, can't we say that His stories never return to Him empty without accomplishing what He intends? And they lay the groundwork for our understanding later.

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