Friday, June 20, 2008

For Sunday June 22 - Take Two Tablets and Call Me

Exodus 24
I don't think that we, as modern-day Christians, have a very good idea of the immense glory, holiness, or power of God. Our idea of God is been domesticated to fit what we are comfortable with. After all, God exists to make our lives better, right?
That isn't the view we get standing at the edge of Exodus 24. No, the view here is wonderful and terrible. A child in the The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe asks eloquent Beaver a question about Aslan the Lion (the Christ figure in the book),
Child: "Aslan is safe isn't he?"
Beaver replies, "Safe? Oh no, he's not safe at all. But he is Good."
We love the goodness of God, but we sometimes love the idea of Him being safe more.
Exodus 24 - really all of Exodus - sets us straight. God is wonderfully good, forgiving, long suffering, and loving. But he is terribly Other. He's not like us. His holiness means that he's separate, different than anything we can imagine or wrap our minds around. He gives his Law because he loves his people so much. But soon after he's ready (Exodus 32) to wipe out the whole race and start over with little Moses clones. He wants all people to know him, but "no one may see (God) and live" (Ex 33:20). Even those, here in chapter 24, who "see God" seem only to see a bit of him. They describe only the foot of his throne. But this is enough of God to fill them with wonder and awe. He wraps himself in a thick fog and fire; the mountain shakes violently - and that's before he even utters a word. No, this God who speaks from burning bushes and donkeys, who writes on walls and tablets and on human hearts - he's nothing like us. Yet he makes us in his image. We know ourselves only when we know him who is unknowable. Oh my.
When was the last time you trembled at the glory of God? Really trembled with fear and dread and worship and wonder. - Curtis