(This remarkable text forms part of a story beginning in Ex 32, the incident of the golden calf. The prescribed text should be read together with that story).
The basic point of the focus text is: After Moses returned from the mountain, where he received the commandments the second time, the face of Moses shone brightly, and also on every subsequent visit to speak to the Lord.
There are two aspects of this text that are of great importance to the Church in this time.
First, God wishes to be present amongst his people. Second, this presence is mediated by Moses. It is made visible through the shining of his face. His face reflects the glory and light of God. However, the true presence of God is reflected in the words of Moses, who spoke the words he received during his visits.
Today we understand God’s people as being much broader than the people of Israel, or even the Church. He wishes to be present in the life of every person He created. This means that every person posses dignity, and is deserving of our respect. Yet, we live in a world full of stigmatization, name calling, discrimination, slavery, abuse and other behaviour that treats others with disrespect and dehumanize them. It is more than just people living with HIV and AIDS that are the victims of this behaviour. In our country farm workers and miners, women and girls, the poor and those living on the streets and parklands of our cities share this terrible experience of being ostracized.
The second important perspective is that the word (or rather Word) of God that we receive is not merely the letters in the Bible. Actually there is only one word that God speaks: Christ. This is a word of grace to, and hope for, those on the fringes of society. It is a word that restores and brings life, and it is a word that invites people into a community of acceptance and hospitality. Listen carefully to the voice of God; hear how He whispers the name of Christ.
Who will reflect God’s grace, love and care? Who else will listen and speak His life-giving word to victims and perpetrators alike? Christ did, and commissioned us to be His body. This is our calling: to be a community of acceptance, of grace, of life.
To think about: How does the name and reputation of your faith fellowship reflect grace and acceptance? Why do we struggle with this? (And remember, it is not merely personal sin that cause us to struggle with our calling!)