2011/03/09

My mountains don't smoke

Image By zz77

Exodus 24:17 Now the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.

My brother Barry, over on his blog, Words From the Middle, preached a nasty good sermon for Transfiguration Sunday called "Let's Look Different. It was very good and I'd highly recommend you follow the link and listen to it.

The part that struck me was his take on the passage in Exodus where Moses is to go up the mountain to meet with God and get the Ten Commandments. Barry made the fascinating point that the mountain smoked and burned in response to the holiness of God. Not as I've often thought of that image as more of a shock and awe pyrotechnic show to strike fear into a demonstrably cantankerous group.

It made me think about my interactions with God. I was struck by the realization that not only is my god too small, in most cases, it is very likely not God at all. I have fallen under the cultural Christianity bus and been run over without even realizing it.

It made me think how rarely, no wait, never, have I experienced such an encounter with God. Which led me to the realization that my god fits easily into digital devices and small slivers of my attention almost certainly because it is one of my own creation. It certainly doesn’t ever make anything smoke under the intensity of its presence.

So as I settle into the season of Lent I'm asking myself a question. What needs to change for me to see the mountains smoke in response to the presence of the holiness of the most high God?

2 comments on “My mountains don't smoke”

  1. Okay in the spirit of full disclosure and giving fair warning to folks outside of the immediate circle . . . WATCH OUT! Family stuff coming.

    When I read your words "My brother Barry, over on his blog, Words From the Middle, preached a nasty good sermon for Transfiguration Sunday called “Let’s Look Different. It was very good and I’d highly recommend you follow the link and listen to it." My first response was the most peculiar species of confusion you can imagine. I google chatted to Heather "I can't tell you how much that meant to me / affected me / I'm not sure what I felt / ....."

    And that is the truth. What I realized in a very few minutes after sending that to Heather is that it was type that or cry. Why? Why now? Because you are now the patriarch, you can protest it until you are blue in the face but it won't do you any good. Mom never heard me preach EVER. Dad heard me preach when I was learning my craft and I now realize how little technique had to do with it; he never heard me when I was where I am now . . . shockingly (and how absolutely fitting that word is, is a tale for another, far less public, day) dependent on a gracious God to open His word to His people.

    Thank you for the family affirmation that can not come from anyone else. God bless you.

    Love,
    Barry

    PS Only you can judge what is, perhaps, too personal to live on your blog. Feel free to remove or edit this post as, and if, you see fit.

  2. Well personal is ok by me. And if I'm the patriarch, well, I just hope I don't have to up and leave Ur anytime soon. 😉
    However, I am periodically, acutely aware that I am the oldest of our clan of Holtslanders, so I don't take your appreciation of my appreciation lightly. I am inordinately proud of my heritage, my family (both extended and nuclear) and my brothers in particular. There are very few things I can do that are unique and irreplaceable. Being your big brother is one that I am regularly grateful for.

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