Old Glory Face

Long ago, Moses climbed Mount Sinai to receive the books of the Law. For many days he laboured on the mountain, privileged to commune with Jehovah God and to stand in His majestic presence. Then, when he came down from the mountain, Scripture says that Moses’ face shone with the glory light of God (Exod. 34:29-30).

No further explanation is given for this unique physical phenomenon. But the New Testament makes a spiritual application of Moses’ unusual experience. The Apostle Paul writes, “We all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord” (II Cor. 3:18).

This latter “glory” does not cause the skin of our faces to shine, as it did for Moses in a bygone time. But God’s presence can light our lives from within, as the Holy Spirit works to transform us into the likeness of Christ. That is the essence of our heavenly Father’s purpose for each believer. As Romans puts it, “He...predestined [us] to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn of many brethren” (Rom. 8:29).

As a result of the Spirit’s work in us, the fresh glow of God’s love should shine forth from our lives, and the radiance of His joy should often be reflected in our smiles. We need to carry the fragrance of our daily fellowship with Him into the hectic swirl of the marketplaces of the world. Out there, so many need to know the Lord. Are they attracted to Him, through us?

For one individual, a bright smile almost became a trademark. At the beginning of the last century, a cheerful old man named Ed Card was superintendent of the Sunshine Rescue Mission, in St. Louis, Missouri. Ed was a radiant Christian who always seemed to be bubbling over with the joy of the Lord. His glowing smile earned him the nickname “Old Glory Face.”

During meetings at the mission, the one safety valve for all his pent up enthusiasm was the word “Glory!” (to him meaning “Wonderful!”). He often just exploded with it, in the middle of a sermon or a prayer. As author Ken Osbeck notes, “He praised the Lord, not with many words, but with one word repeated many times!” When he prayed, he would inevitably end with thoughts of meeting his Saviour in heaven, saying, “And that will be glory for me!”

Charles Gabriel (1856-1932) was a good friend of Mr. Card’s, and he wrote the hymn “O That Will Be Glory” in honour of the superintendent’s shining testimony. It begins, “When all my labours and trials are o’er, / And I am safe on that beautiful shore, / Just to be near the dear Lord I adore, / Will through the ages be glory for me.” The superintendent’s joyful anticipation of meeting Christ is reflected throughout the song. It goes on, “When by the gift of His infinite grace, / I am accorded in heaven a place, / Just to be there and to look on His face, / Will through the ages be glory for me.” Like the Apostle Paul,

Ed Card was one of those who “loved His appearing” (II Tim. 4:8). They both looked forward to the day of Christ’s return, and to an eternity with Him. And the old man had the privilege of singing Charles Gabriel’s hymn himself, just before he died. He was thrilled to think that his Christian life had been an inspiration to others.

Can each of us say the thought of meeting our Saviour is truly “glory for me”? Further, does our fellowship with Christ, now, bring the light of heaven to our faces? Does our presence inspire others to get to know Jesus better? And would those who know us ever describe us as “Old Glory Face”? Or would “Old Pickle Face” be more appropriate?