"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Coram Deo

I have been asked to lead a devotional time around the subject of "Coram Deo". When I saw the title of the session, my first response was ...huh? I saw the "Deo" part and knew it had something to do with God. But other than that--- I had no idea what the session was to be about, let alone how to lead it!

So, off to the Internet I went. Thanks to google I easily found Coram Deo. The definition of Coram Deo is literally "before the face of God".

According to what I read, it's general meaning encompasses our whole lives lived out in the presence of God, under His authority and to His honor. It is an awareness of God's face, an awareness of Him watching our lives, and an awareness of His sovereign presence. The legal definition for the Latin word coram is "to appear before". This term Coram Deo is calling us to remember that we appear before God. Everyday we appear before God. We live our lives before His face. We live under His gaze or in His presence.

The face of God.

I brought this phrase before the Lord and asked Him about it. The very first piece of Scripture that came to mind when thinking on this was when God showed Himself to Moses. He chose to show Moses His back because He told Moses that if he were to see His face, Moses would surely die.

To see the face of God would bring death. Me, an unholy, an unclean thing, cannot look at a pure, holy God without immediate judgement or death.

The face of God. An awesome thing. As I pondered this even for a moment a sense of awe and fear welled up in my soul. Moses saw the burning bush, realized when God spoke from it that He was in the presence of Almighty God, and he hid his face. Moses hid his face in fear of seeing the face of God.

Father, I cried out, I can't lead people to live before Your face! This is too awesome for me...

And, then, the sweetness of light shed into my heart almost as instantly as the fear had invaded. (As an aside, I do believe that both the fear and the light were from God's Spirit) My next thought was of verses that says Christ Jesus is the very image of God. He is the image of the invisible God, Paul tells us in Colossians. An awesome, awe inspiring, all powerful God is seen... He is displayed, a portrait painted on earth for us to see. Jesus is the replica of God, the picture of God, He is the see-able God. He is see-able. We can look on His face!

Ignorant disciples, sinful woman, dirty beggars and little children looked on His face, stood in His presence, touched Him and did not die.

This I can do. I can lead people to do this! The ignorant disciple that I am. The sinful woman that I am. The dirty, needy beggar that I am. The child that I am... I can look at His face. I can ask people to join me in looking at His face, remembering we stand in His presence always and ushering us into a better awareness of His gaze.

Thank you Father for Your Presence. Thank you for sending Your son to earth to show us Yourself. Thank you for being a touchable, a see able, and knowable God. Lead me into a better awareness of Your Presence, Your face, Your holy gaze. May my life honor Your gaze as You empower me to.

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