Posted by: Melissa Bane Sevier | February 8, 2010

Shiny Faces

Aging Americans will do just about anything to make their faces look more youthful, from creams to plastic surgery. It seems that wrinkle-free, just-scrubbed appearance we had when we were 10 is the sought-after look for those who are middle-aged. Good luck with that.

When you have a few minutes, read this story from the Old Testament: Exodus 34:29-35. It’s about how Moses, when he had been in the presence of God, experienced a strange problem when he went back to talk to the elders and the rest of the people. His face was so shiny they were afraid of him.

The account may sound silly to modern ears, but maybe you’ve at some time or another noticed the shiny face of someone who’s been in God’s presence. When we’ve spent time with God, it can’t help but show.

I’m not just talking about prayer, Bible study, and worship, though time spent in those pursuits can certainly show in your face and demeanor.

You participate in a local building project, and can’t help but show some of the pictures on your phone to friends and family. Your enthusiasm is contagious.

You watch the news about Haiti, then walk into work and someone can see that you are troubled. You have a chance to commiserate with a coworker about the senselessness of poverty and trouble in the world.

You help a child or adult learn to read, sit at the bedside of a sick loved one, attend the funeral of a friend who touched your life, observe the beauty of perfect snowflakes falling on a silent winter night. All of these things move you, and that shows on your face and in your actions in such a way that someone else might notice, whether they comment or not.

One of the first bits of astronomy we learn as children is that the moon, bright as it is, does not emit light of its own. Its light is only a reflection of the sun’s brilliance. But in the darkest of nights, we look for the light of the moon. It’s a reminder that the sun, though completely hidden from view, and though on the other side of the world, is just a few hours from coming into view again.

Moon at Boyd Orchards, Versailles

When you’ve spent time with God, you reflect God’s joy, God’s pain, the glow of the search for an answer or the ability to live with the questions, the clarity of God’s presence or the luminous desire for that presence. And, whether you know it or not, someone else will notice.   Maybe that person will be moved by the same thing that moved you.

May your face shine today with the reflected light of the presence of God.

© Melissa Bane Sevier



  1. Those were some very insightful comments. I am preaching on this same passage this Sunday and I am thankful for some of the ways that you highlighted the pericope. I have never read your blog before, but I found it very helpful. Keep up the good work.
    Philip Chryst – Pastor
    Warren’s Grove United Methodist Church
    Roxboro, North Carolina

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