How I see you, veil or not

A Christian Science perspective.

When I was a child my family used to visit my mother’s relatives who lived in Rasht, in northern Iran. Although we were Christians, these relatives were devout Muslims. They all wore chador, or the veil. It looked so attractive to my sisters and me, we longed to wear it also. So they used to lend us some chadors, which we would wear each time we went out. In fact, we loved wearing them so much that we wore them even around the house. There was such deep love and affection between us, and we totally respected each other’s religious beliefs.

Years later, living in London, I caught myself looking with a different attitude as I looked at women wearing veils. Whereas in Iran as children we had found it totally natural to accept what people wore, now in the West, to me, the veil strongly indicated individuals’ beliefs and identity.

So I asked myself, Does the veil really define who a woman is – or is there another way to see oneself?

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians: "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit" (II Cor. 3:17, 18, Revised Version). The "unveiled face" describes a spiritual concept. It takes the issue right out of the domain of what we wear or don’t wear, to how we can see ourselves and one another as the perfectly loved children of God.

As Christian Science explains, the veil that needs to be taken away is the material sense of our being, which hides from us the spiritual sense of God and of ourselves as God’s reflection. What matters isn’t what people wear or don’t wear, but how we see and perceive one another.

For example, think of how God called Moses to save the children of Israel from captivity. Moses thought of himself as unworthy of the calling. He was looking at a limited sense of himself as material and mortal. He voiced many excuses for why he couldn’t go and save the people, such as "I am not eloquent.... I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue" (Ex. 4:10). But God replied, "Who hath made man’s mouth?... have not I the Lord?" (Ex. 4:11).

The Second Epistle of Peter states that we are "partakers of the divine nature" (1:4). Since God is our Maker, this indicates to me that right now we are the majestically created and loved children of God, made in His image. Our real identity is as God’s expression, or reflection. And we can feel this within our individual consciousness. That is who we are. God is pure divine Spirit, and by reflection, we each are wholly spiritual. God talked to Moses through his spiritual intuition – as He talks to all of us now who pray for guidance.

When we recognize ourselves in this way, as spiritual, we are removing the "veil" that limits our view of life and identity. We are removing whatever hides anyone’s true nature as God’s much-loved, perfect creation.

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