Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 (Common English Bible)
12 So, since we have such a hope, we act with great confidence. 13 We aren’t like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites couldn’t watch the end of what was fading away. 14 But their minds were closed. Right up to the present day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. The veil is not removed because it is taken away by Christ. 15 Even today, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But whenever someone turns back to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom. 18 All of us are looking with unveiled faces at the glory of the Lord as if we were looking in a mirror. We are being transformed into that same image from one degree of glory to the next degree of glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
For the month of February, we will commemorate Black History Month with a sermon series that focuses on what it means to be true to our God and true to our roots as a people. The close of James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing” charges us to be “true to our God and true to our native land.”
When we are true to God, we are transformed into a new image in the Spirit. Our ancestors remind us that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Don’t stop now, in God we are transformed from one glory to the next!
Bible Study Lesson
Gathering Time (5-10 minutes).
Discuss the question: What is freedom to you? How do you define freedom?
Discussions Questions (Approximately 30 minutes)
“In 2 Corinthians 3:13-18, the word “veil” (kalumma) occurs four times, in each of the verses except seventeen. There is the veil that Moses wore over his face after his visage had been transformed by his encounter with God. After speaking to God in the tent of meeting, Moses would put on his veil to avoid making the Israelites uncomfortable; it seems that when they saw his face shining with the glory of his encounter with God they were afraid (Exodus 34:29-35), and, as their own faces were still shining from the exertion of reveling before the Golden Calf (Exodus 32), they were probably ashamed by the comparison as well.” (workingpreacher.org)
- In this passage, Paul suggests that Israel was frightened of being in the full presence of God. Why do you think they were fearful?
- Paul says that when someone turns back to God, they don’t need a veil and it is as if we are “looking in a mirror.” How different would we be if we saw God in ourselves? How different would our community be if we saw God each other at all times?
- Paul says that, in the Spirit, “we are being transformed from glory to glory.” What do you see for the future of the church? Who is God transforming us to be?
Prayer (10 minutes).
Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). End by praying the following or a similar prayer:
God of Transformation, we confess that we are reluctant to change, even when it might be for our best. Help us to trust and rest in knowing that for whatever change happens, your love will remain constant. Empower us to trust that your grace is leading us toward sanctification and even glorification. Amen.