Ripped

5 Apr

Piano hands

Explaining, like I did every Tuesday afternoon that the circle with the little line through it was Middle C, I knew by the look in his eyes he didn’t get it.  (Again.) We’d been at it since last fall.

So we dragged out the foot piano* and played a game. I pointed to the key and played the piano note as he “played” Twinkle Twinkle with his feet. Then he joined my on the bench and played it (almost) perfectly. His enthusiasm made up for his lack of understanding, and we fist-pumped and high-fived his effort.

But I longed for him to get it!

I knew the world that would open up when he could understand the correspondence of printed note to piano key. All he could play was what he knew – and a 5-year-old’s repertoire include little Beethoven or Brahms or Debussy. The rich and vast piano literature remained closed to him.

Until the day I saw the flash cross his face.

He looked at me, a smile spreading slowly across his understanding. Studying the music, then moving his fingers on the keys, he played his first mind/hand masterpiece.

——

The Israelites longed for Moses to come down from Mount Sinai. He had been up there (again) for 40 days getting another copy of the covenant. When he descended, his face burned into their dim eyes, so he covered his head with a veil.

As they wandered in the desert, the Twelve Tribes constructed the Tabernacle as the Lord instructed through Moses. Later, Solomon built a temple for the Lord after they settled in the Promised Land.  In both of these places of worship a veil hung between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place separating Holy God from sinful man.

Today the word veil brings to mind sheer cloth like tulle or nylon netting worn by a bride, not the Temple veil that protected the Israelites from Almighty God– and certain death. There was nothing light and filmy about it. Bible resources say the veil was 4-6 inches thick and about 60 feet high by 30 feet wide – a virtually impenetrable, but somewhat flexible, divider.

Immediately after Jesus gave us his spirit, this veil was torn from the top to the bottom, removing the barrier between God and man. At the same time the earth shook and rocks were split. An earthquake can be explained away as a natural occurrence, and rocks crack from its tremendous force. But fabric, even 4-6 inches thick, does not crack. Unless the temple fell (it did not until 40 years later) fabric would have been resilient– moving perhaps, but not ripping.

Hung its full height: 60 feet high by pillars, the veil could not have been ripped by human agency. Physically this would have been impossible, especially since the ripping started from the top. Symbolically, the top-to-bottom ripping points to divine rending.

Three days later, God also removed the weighty stone that sealed the tomb where Jesus had been laid.

When the protective nature of the veil and the stone changed to a barrier, God removed them.

So we can see him.

So we can “get it” – understand how much he loves us.

So we can have an almost-barrier-free relationship with him.

The last barrier is death. After that we will truly see him as he is.

———-

Ready for Sunday

If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

The death and resurrection of Jesus gives his followers the unfathomable privilege of direct access to God. Do I “get it”? Do I understand – and take advantage of – the access Jesus bought for me with his death?

How can I communicate that God “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ”?

Do those I lead “get it” because of my example, or am I a barrier between them and God?

———-

*A vinyl shade removed from the roller on which I had drawn piano keys big enough for a 5-year-old foot to “play” the notes. Using gross motor skills is sometimes easier than the fine finger skills used to play an instrument.  The foot piano eliminates half of the fine-motor + intellectual info difficulty, allowing the student to just focus on the information while playing a game (and expend some excess wiggles!)

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