Ramble for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 3 October 2021

We haven’t had many COVID mask mandates in Townsville, but whenever one is promulgated (I wholeheartedly approve, by the way), three things happen. First, I forget that the measure is in force, walk masklessly up to Coles front door,  see a masked shopper emerging, utter an unpastoral imprecation - sotto voce, I hope - go back to the car and retrieve my mask. Second, when I try to scan the Queensland check in QR code, my phone won’t unlock because it doesn’t recognise my face with a mask. So I rummage through my ageing memory for the phone’s PIN. Third, when it’s time to pay, I can’t use Apple Pay because, you’ve guessed it, my face isn’t recognised.

There are instances in the Bible of masks - or veils, same thing - being worn.  Exactly as in the Middle East today, women wore them for reasons of modesty and to indicate that only a husband or close male relative may see their unveiled face. I’m glad that Leisa wasn’t wearing a veil when I beheld her for the first time in a London church thirty three years ago. And the seraphim cavorting around heaven in Isaiah’s vision (Ch 6) covered their faces with their wings. Perhaps most famously, Moses (Exodus 34) covered his face to protect the Israelites from the terror of seeing it irradiated after he had been in the presence of Yahweh. St Paul compares this barrier, which was a consequence of the Law being handed down, with our Spirit-endowed freedom to “with unveiled faces contemplate the Lords glory,” as we “are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Cor 3.

And we don’t need to remember a PIN 😊

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