Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Transforming Radiance

By Charles Moncrief

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. ~Exodus 34:29 (NIV)

Exodus 34:29-35 is a standard passage read in churches that commemorate an event classically known as the Transfiguration of Christ. In 1998 I wrote an academic paper (cite) on this passage, so it holds particular significance for me. While I made an “A” on the paper, my professor and I disagreed on the significance of one element in this verse. In the years since, and especially as a result of my experience with this blog site and with the other contributing writers, I’ve come to the conclusion that my professor was wrong.

My professor and I agree that Moses’ face was radiant because of his encounter with God. Where we differ is on the reason why Moses was unaware of this radiance.

Before continuing, allow me to pause for a moment and invite you to look at the pictures on the right side of this page -- all except mine. These are the other contributing writers on this site. As you scroll down the page, notice the radiance in their faces.


Most if not all of these writers have survived major traumatic events in their lives. They are survivors of one or more violent crimes against them or their loved ones. Each of them has known injustice, violence, betrayal, and loss. And yet, because of their encounter with something greater than themselves, to some extent each of them has known hope, healing, and restoration.

In the 33 chapters and 28 verses preceding this narrative, Moses had known injustice, violence, betrayal, and loss. A prince of Egypt became a desert nomad. A leader of slaves marching to freedom stood accused of failure by the former slaves and by God Himself. But as he returned from his special encounter with God, his face was radiant. And Moses didn’t know this until someone else pointed it out to him.

The contributing writers, if told their faces are radiant, might express surprise. Their humility, as that of Moses, would be the reason for their unawareness. But that is only part of the story. Moses was preoccupied with returning to his people with a message of assurance, that God had a plan for them, and he was too busy to dwell on anything special about his own appearance.

Likewise, on this site all of the survivors of violence participate with a sense of purpose. And one of the driving forces in their purpose is to provide readers with a message of assurance, that there is a future, and that we can all trust in something greater than ourselves.

No one would deny the devastation that occurs with physical and emotional violence. No one would diminish the further devastation of a criminal justice system that worships at the altar of a faulty system of laws. And no one would discount the implications of this devastation on future generations in your lives.

But let me offer one more thought for your consideration. This site’s writers would also be quick to tell you that they are not the only survivors with radiant faces. They would name countless others in their personal lives, on TV talk shows, and on talk radio, who have been transformed by healing experiences. They would tell you that the transforming experience is occurring in countless persons, and that it’s happening daily. The transforming experience is available far and wide. And it is also available to you.

Grace and Peace,
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1 comment:

  1. What can I say, Charles? You are dead on! God promises to get us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, not around it. When you get to the other side you have no choice. You HAVE been changed.


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