The Lockhart Principle
In forensic science there is a principle known as the Lockhart principle states that wherever there is contact between two objects, there is a transfer of material between them.
The challenge for forensic scientists is to find that material and proved where it came from.
I used to be part of the Anglican Chaplaincy Team in the Wolds Prison in East Yorkshire.
One Sunday when leading the service, I asked the prisoners there if they had heard to the Lockhart principle.
"No" they said
So I proceeded to tell them that I had been to a Christian meeting in Marsham Street in London where one of the speakers was a Met. Police Sergeant.
He talked about this forensic principle that "Every touch leaves an impression".
"Have you really never heard of it" I asked.
"No" they replied, to which I replied "Hardly surprising you are all in here then!".
I hasten to add they all found highly amusing!
In our first reading today, we see the Lockhart principle applied to Moses when he comes into contact with the awesome majesty of God the Father.
Moses simply radiates the glory of God.
It is a bit like a young couple when they first go out – often they will radiate the joy of their new found love.
And you can see the difference
In Exodus 34, Moses went up to Mt. Sinai for the second time to bring down the 10 commendments.
The first time, recorded in Ex 32, he had flipped his lid and smashed the first two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them when he found the people had made a golden calf and were worshipping it.
And he didn’t even get a faculty!
The at the beginning of Exodus Chapter 34, God told him to go back up to the mountain and there God gave him the 10 commandments again.
And it is during this second trip to the mountain, that Moses spent 40 days in God’s presence.
And it rubbed off on him.
When Moses came down the mountain with the new tablets, "he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord" (Ex. 34:29).
He had a shine on his face that wouldn’t leave.
When the people saw him they were afraid to come near him.
They backed away from him as if he was "radioactive."
Even Aaron, Moses’ brother, was afraid.
STORY: On the TV show, "Friends," Ross wanted to impress his new girlfriend with his radiant smile.
So he applied some tooth whitener but left it on twice as long as he was supposed to.
His teeth were "noticeably" whiter as he showed off his smile to his friends.
He even went over to his girlfriend and asked, "Do you notice anything different about me?"
She said, "No, not really."
Later on that night, when they turned the lights down low, his teeth glowed in the dark AND his girlfriend was HORRIFIED!
Can you imagine the people’s reaction to Moses’ shine.
Moses played down the radiant glow he had because he didn’t want them to focus on that in itself but rather on what the Lord had to say to them.
He didn’t want people to focus on him and put him on a pedestal and so he "put a veil over his face" (v. 33) .
Moses wanted the people to focus on God--not on the glow.