And the mountain trembled

preacheroldstyle.gifMy Church is in the middle of Exodus at the moment! A literal Exodus as our Curate, Youth worker and Associate Priest are all leaving (all for positive reasons I hasten to add) and a Biblical Exodus as we are ‘doing’ Moses at the moment.
The Exodus of preaching folk has meant that I have been drawn into the preaching on Exodus. All well and good BUT I’ve just looked up the passage the Rector has inflicted on me and it’s this:

"16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and
lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud
trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses led the
people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of
the mountain. 18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD
descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from
a furnace, the whole mountain [b] trembled violently, 19 and the sound
of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice
of God answered him"

First problem is there is not much of it, and the second problem is what to make of the not much of it that there is (if you see what I mean). I’ve never been one for the real tub-thumping sermons although one is very much suggested here, where every few lines I thump the pulpit, look the congregation in the eye(s) and repeat,

(obviously emphasising a different syllable each time we come to this exegeted mantra!)
I also feel a teensy weensy bit of pressure when preaching at St Nix as it means occupying a Pulpit from which impressive people like Desmond Tutu and John Wesley have spoken from. So, my Biblically literate and highly articulate preaching friends ……. suggestions, nay … HELP?
wes and the mountain.jpg
(The Rector does actually call into the blog from time to time and this may pressurise him into allowing me a few more verses!)

6 Replies to “And the mountain trembled”

  1. you need to contextualise it first …… then
    ” On the morning of the third day possible interesting link to the day of resurrection?
    Everyone in the camp trembled. the awesomeness of God and the fear of people who are wandering in the wilderness and having to depend on God, but who know they haven’t been following Him at all well….
    Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of
    the mountain…… Then Moses spoke and the voice
    of God answered him”
    God speaks when we ask him to speak he won’t push Himself, BUT we need to be prepared to meet with God and sometimes be chastised but also to hear what we need to hear and ‘know’…
    well that was my 5 minute thought – which chapter is it – as although I do know quite a bit not really up on exodus!!

  2. I think this is one of those passages that really highlights the ‘awe and wonder’ of God element that some of contemporary Christianity misses out on. God is awesome, powerful, worthy to be feared as well as praised. And yet he deigns to meet with us, to speak with us, even, through Jesus, to walk as one of us. That’s grace.
    Our encounters with God need to have something of this element within it.
    My tuppence…

  3. Tend to agree with the ‘awe and wonder’ emphasis. IMHO we take for granted how incredible a privilege it is that we can speak directly with God and this sometimes also diminishes our view of who he his. This passage goes some way towards redressing the balance.
    By way of example, your view of Desmond Tutu or John Wesley is based on their reputation and what they have done. You’d be less worried about standing in the pulpit at St Nix if they were your Dad…
    …and yet, because of Christ we can call this awesome God ‘Dad’ or ‘Abba’ if you want to be pedantic.
    Thick clouds often signified the powerful presence of God – eg Pillar of cloud led the people out of Egypt. There’s a link here to the Transfiguration (Luke 9) where we see a glimpse of the glory of the Son, and get some awesome advice: “This is my Son, whom I have chosen, listen to him.”
    You have now had sixpence worth in total…

  4. Never having been theologically trained but having sat through a lot of sermons I like them to go into what the verses signify and are really about but then I need some kind of practical implication.
    As I read through the passage I am struck by the difference between the ‘Everyone in the camp trembled’ and ‘Then Moses spoke’ – Moses the guy who started by running away rather than facing the consquences of his actions. The man whose excuse to God was I cant speak has morphed into a leader of people. I bet he was afraid standing at the foot of what sounds to me like a volcano but he saw God in it and he knew God and knew that in the midst of all this big stuff happening God was still there to be talked to and He would answer. So the practical bit for me is am I a camp member who just sees the big stuff a stays trembling or am I a Moses who sees the big stuff, sees it is God and leads others to meet with Him.

  5. Nothing to add that will aid your preaching, but, if you have some young people who can organise some special effects?
    i.e. smoke machine? young person on a trumpet? a trembling pulpit (not quite sure how you will manage that)

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