REREAD the big story
REVIEW the context
God led the Israelites to Mount Sinai, and in a dramatic display of theophany (God revealing Himself within space and time), God forged a new covenantal agreement with Israel: ‘If you obey – I will bless.’ God laid out His new way-of-being in ten laws of moral living – the 10 Commandments. By following God’s law, Israel would make God known in the world and the world would be blessed for it. At the time – God’s presence was too overpowering and Israel delegated Moses as their prophetic voice.
REENTER through the 2nd story
a REIMAGINING of Exodus 24:1-18
‘Remember!’ Moses said to the Hebrews. ‘Today God gave us His Law! His way-of-living!’ The Hebrews nodded in agreement, and with one voice they shouted back: ‘Everything God has said, we will do!’ By now the sun had set. The day at Sinai had passed and the people returned to camp. Moses entered his tent with only Joshua his assistant. ‘Get me a quill and ink,’ Moses said as he lit his oil lamp, ‘and an unused scroll.’ Joshua nodded, ‘Certainly. But for what purpose?’ Moses looked towards Joshua, his eyes focused and sure. ‘I must write what God has told me. Our people must not forget.’
As dawn broke, Moses emerged from his tent, scroll in hand, and walked swiftly to the base of Sinai. He called for Aaron and the seventy elders of Israel. ‘Go and gather ropes and timbers,’ Moses instructed. ‘Have your tribesmen find twelve large pillars of stone. Today we build an altar. Today we make covenant with God!’ The elders obeyed. They piled the stones and hoisted the pillars into place. ‘Bring out the sacrifices!’ Aaron and the Levites laid the animal-offerings on the altar and immediately smoke billowed up. Moses opened the scroll and began to read aloud the laws of God. ‘Everything God says,’ the Hebrews replied, ‘we will do!’ Covenant had been made. The ceremony was complete.
Moses turned to the seventy elders, ‘Bring the roast-offering and follow me up the mountain!’ The elders paused. They looked at each other in hesitation. ‘Do not be afraid,’ Moses said. ‘You will not die.’ The elders obliged and followed their leader up his familiar path. Halfway up Moses turned to Aaron, ‘Set the meal here.’ Aaron and the elders laid a blanket over a smooth spot of stone. They placed stacks of manna- bread and the roast-offering in the middle and knelt down to eat. Suddenly – there was a blinding light! A surge of energy swept over the rock and a rumbling filled the sky. God had arrived.
The elders fell to their faces. ‘Eat!’ Moses shouted in laughter. ‘Today we dine with the Almighty!’ Hands trembling, the elders reached for the bread and roast. They dared not to look up, but could see the feet of God standing on what looked like an endless expanse of ocean-blue. When the meal was finished, Yahweh’s presence lifted. Moses spoke, ‘I must go further up and in. I take only Joshua. Aaron is in charge. Stay here until we return.’ Moses began his climb and Joshua followed. Aaron and the elders watched until the pair was out of sight, lost in the cloud of God’s presence on Sinai.
RETHINK in sacred sharing
Spend some time in sacred reflection, conversation, and listening. Use the following questions as a guide.
Q: Have you ever heard God’s voice?
Q: Have you ever felt His presence?
Q: How do you think the Israelites felt seeing and hearing God for the first time? How would you have felt?
Q: KIDS: what do you think God’s voice sounds like?
Q: Imagine being an elder on the flat of the rock when God showed up. Imagine the radiance and power described in Exodus. What does this scene cause you to feel?
Q: The elders couldn’t look upon God’s holiness or else they would have died. What, or who, has overcome the barrier between us and God?
Q: How can we approach that same God on Mt. Siani? What do you think Jesus would say to you in this moment?
RECREATE in sacred play
Spend some time in sacred play recreating the Sinai scene! Use materials from within your home to recreate the wilderness, Israel’s camp, and Mt. Sinai. Below are a list of props ideas, characters, costumes, and a general flow-of-the-story. Remember – play is spontaneous and child-led! Use the scriptures as a reference but let the children lead!
PROPS: Set up a space that resembles Mt. Sinai. You will need a base camp filled with tents (chairs and blankets), the altar and 12 pillars (pillows), and the mountain itself (a staircase, tabletop, or high place).
CHARACTERS: God (His voice and theophany!), Moses, Aaron, the elders of Israel, the Israelites.
COSTUMES: Use white t-shirts to outfit the elders, something loud for God’s voice and theophany (pots and pans, a blow-horn, baking sheets).
FLOW: The Pillar of Cloud led the Hebrews to the foot of Mt. Sinai. God showed up in thunder and lightning – and spoke to the Hebrews! The Israelites made an altar and erected 12 pillars at the base of camp and made covenant with God. Then Moses and the elders climbed, met God, and ate with Him!
REMAKE in a sacred meal
Moses built an altar at Mt. Sinai to perform an animal-sacrifice. They ate the roast-offering with God as a covenant meal. But there is no need for sacrifices any longer because of Jesus. If the Spirit indwells, God is present!
CHALLENGE: Make a roast! Have a BBQ! But pause mid-meal. Look around the table and see the faces of those present. If you are alone, video-call a friend. Give thanks – and acknowledge – that you are eating in the presence of God, through the Spirit, because of Jesus.
RESPOND in sacred prayer
REIMAGINE – SUNDAY – week two – APR5:2020
Just as Moses scribed God’s words to the Israelites, take a moment to listen and write what God has spoken to you. Find a quiet spot in your home and listen for the Spirit. Write what you hear.
When you are finished, return to a lit candle. Prayerfully lay your words before the flame in an act of faith. If you are comfortable, share aloud what God has spoken to you and in a final act of prayer recite God’s words to the Israelites:
‘I am God’s treasure – in a kingdom of priests’
And recite Israelites words to God:
‘What God has said – I will do.’