Summary: A contemporary sermon in first person exploring the character of Moses as he hungers for the presence of God.
(This sermon is preached standing in the chancel, with the preacher’s back to the congregation during all but the closing of the message. It is an animated dialogue - almost a monologue - between the preacher [representing Moses] and God. A second person, by way of wireless mic and in an adjoining room speaks the part of God. The purpose of the message is self-evident and strikes its target parabolically -- and successfully)
"God, there’s a long way of wilderness between your people here at Mt. Sinai, where you gave us the Law, and the place where you keep saying you want us to go. That “Promised Land” has never seemed farther away.
Don’t get me wrong, God; it’s not that I doubt you when you tell me that all these people (sweeping arms behind toward the congregation WITHOUT TURNING AROUND) must move together to Canaan – I believe you mean that, Lord. It’s just that you’ve already seen how undependable and unreliable we are. These people all say “Yes, Yes! We love God… We want to do the will of God.” But then, just as soon as my back is turned or a temptation presents itself, or an opportunity to gripe and complain comes around, they fall away from your dream for us like kids running for stick candy.
You saw what my first mate, Aaron, did when I was in that meeting with you up on the mountain. I’d no sooner left camp, Lord, than he started taking up his own collection and playing like HE was your anointed leader. He had the people worshipping something besides you, God -- a golden calf of their own making, in fact – and having orgy parties all night long.
So God, I can hear you fine when you tell me, over and over again, “Bring up these people; lead these people,” but frankly it’s a little frustrating. Can’t you fudge a little bit, God, and point out to me ahead of time which ones will follow me and which ones won’t? After all – those Presbyterians over on the Loop are telling everybody that you know ahead of time who is, and who isn’t going to make it to the Promised Land. So, the way I see it, if you’d just let me in on that information, God, and tell me who will be coming with me, it would make things so much easier. Then I wouldn’t have to keep wasting time on the losers, or the ones who stab me in the back, or the two-faced ones, or the ones who try to divide the people by complaining all the time. You know how it is, God: they cry for freedom, they cry for a relationship with you – for life in the covenant – and as soon as you give it to them they can’t handle the responsibility and want to head straight back to Egypt. (Pause)
I know you love me, Lord, because you have told me you that you ‘know me by name.’
’Know me by name…’ That means that you know me inside and out. You know my motives and how much I love you. You have searched my heart and yes, God, there is still some sin in there, but you know that all I really want is you.
In our times together in the Tent of Meeting you’ve spoken to me in the quiet stillness and whispered that, somehow, I’ve found favor in your sight. It’s amazing, God, that a human like me could even hear your voice – but to think that Almighty God might even be mindful of someone like me – it’s more than my heart can hold.
But if it’s true, God, then I want something more. I’m hungry for more of you, God. I’m hungry for my eyes to be opened wider, and hungry to be amazed by you again like I was that day at the Burning Bush. And I think that if I want to know you more, God, then I must follow you – I must to align my path, my ways, with yours, just like you want your people to follow me.
But how can I do that God, unless you show me?”
I need for you to show me the way that you do things – the way you work through the events of the world. How is it that you come in the clouds or inscribe your will in stone? How is it that you answer our prayers, or circumvent our enemies? Tell me, God, so that I can come closer to you – and be more like you – and find even more favor in your sight.
All I want is you, God. All I want is you.” (Pause)
(a bit cocky) And besides, God – this nation is yours, after all. If you want the best for them, then you need to help me be the best for you, right?