In 2010 "Social Network" was released and was one of the hottest movies out. It chronicles, then college aged, now billionaire Mark Zuckerburg and the establishment of his now global Facebook empire. It's a "rags to riches" kind of store, though he was never the "rages" kinda kid he still wasn't a "rich" kid either. Zuckerburg begin "Facebook" as away for college kids on the campus of Harvard to communicate and network with each other via the internet. It was originally called "facemash" but fortunately it was changed. Facebook became publicly traded in 2012 and opened with an IPO of 9.4billion dollars!!! Facebook now has over 7 billion users world wide, thats about 1/7 of the worlds total world population! Truth is we are fascinated with the human face. We obsess over ears, eyes, cheeks, noses and chins. (especially when we see more than one chin on our own face). Scientist estimate that there are nearly 5000 distinguishably different facial expressions that humans can make. The ones we see most often from our children or rolled eyes, disbelief and when they are feeling particularly brave...tongue out :). Most of the silly faces we learn are from our parents while we're still little babies as they cu and ka us in our crib or bassinet. With all that being said it's no wonder we can't resist a thing called "Facebook"
We recognize each other best by our faces. This is why it's so striking to us when a friend we have not seen in years losses 50, 80, or 100lbs, because it drastically changes the way their faces look! We recognize friends, enemies...frenamies mostly, really, all by face. This is way prior to the advent of DNA evidence it was so important to have an eye witness to a crime, someone who could say, "I saw that man rob the bank." or "I saw that woman fire the gun."This is way bank robbers, train robber and murders wore masks, to make it nearly impossible for them to be identify be on "reasonable doubt." Another example of the significance of faces is the intensity of which babies study faces. Babies study the faces of people who hold them, tickle them, make silly faces at them, all so that they are able to distinguish between "safe" faces and "unknown faces." Our language even gives testimony to the importance of the face. We have sayings like, "face value", and "face the music", as well as "face off" and when we are disgraced, "lose face". Even face cards in card games have more value than non-face cards. You see, we love, value and protect faces more than anything else in our species.
In our gospel passage this week Jesus' face is TRANSFIGURED, which simply means that it was changed...a lot! The glory of God the father shown in the face of Jesus the man...the face, the focal point of humanity! In the epistle reading St.Paul speaks of the moment when Moses' face shown so brightly because of his encounter with God on Mount Sinai. The radiance of God's glory was so "off putting" to the the Israelites that they begged Moses to veil himself from their sight. They were so concerned with laws and regulations, what they "HAD" to do to please God that they missed God's glory shining right before them. How often does that happen to us? When we get so concerned with what is required from God that we miss the blessing God is trying to give us? This same thing happened to Peter. He was so fascinated with the event, that he missed the blessing...almost:). Paul revels to the Corinthians that the two events, Mount Sinai and Moses and Mount Tabour and Jesus, are connected. Moses' transfigured face represents the veiled glory of God as seen in the law, while Jesus' transfigured face represents the reveling of the glory of God through his life and ministry, i.e "this is my Son, listen to him!" It's interesting to mention that while Moses was on Mount Sinai waiting to hear from God in Exodus 33:20, God tells him to to not look upon his face, for no one can see God's face and live. It makes you wonder than why does God repeatedly admonish us to seek his face? Does God have a death wish for us all? It's a call. A call to continuously seeking those transfiguring moments in our faith journeys and though while we still inhabit these mortal bodies we won't actually see God's face, we need to constantly be seeking it, because it's through seeking the face of God that we are going on to perfection and to the moment when we will be regenerated and entirely sanctified and stand in the presents of almighty God.
The last total solar eclipse viewable in the continental USA happened when I was 10 years old, in August of 1991. The next viewable total eclipse in the USA will happen August 21, 2017. I'm sure the phrase "solar eclipse" needs no real explanation, but just in case, it's when the sun is mostly blocked by the moon as they pass each other in orbit. When this happens, the earth darkens and it almost seems like it's night out in the middle of the day!! When viewing a total solar eclipse experts recommend that we not look directly at the eclipse so that we don't damage our fragile eyes. Instead we are told to view the reflection of the eclipse through a mirror. IT's not quit as spectacular or bright, but it gives you a really good idea of what the real thing looks like. St. Paul tells the 2 Corinthians that they are like that reflection of the solar eclipse when it comes to the glory of God. He can see it in them, they can see it in each other, and the world ought to be able to see it, but it's not quite as bright as the real thing, when the full glory of God, like that which shown in the face of Jesus that day on Mount Tabour, is revealed to all of creation.
The good news is this: Some day God's full glory will be revealed to us all and it will be seen in all who call upon the name of Jesus to be saved, but until then you and I are to shine as brightly as possible and reveal as much as possible the goodness and the glory of God. It might be off putting like when Moses came down from Sinai, it might be frightening or confusing like what Peter, James and John witnessed on Mt. Tabour, but it's our responsibility to always bring glory to God