Sunday, May 28, 2023

Spiritual Quote of the Day (Exodus, on the Thunder, Lightning, and Covenant at Mount Sinai)

“Moses went up the mountain to God.
Then the LORD called to him and said,
‘Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob;
tell the Israelites:
You have seen for yourselves how I treated the Egyptians
and how I bore you up on eagle wings
and brought you here to myself.
Therefore, if you hearken to my voice and keep my covenant,
you shall be my special possession,
dearer to me than all other people,
though all the earth is mine.
You shall be to me a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.
That is what you must tell the Israelites.’
So Moses went and summoned the elders of the people.
When he set before them
all that the LORD had ordered him to tell them,
the people all answered together,
‘Everything the LORD has said, we will do.’
On the morning of the third day
there were peals of thunder and lightning,
and a heavy cloud over the mountain,
and a very loud trumpet blast,
so that all the people in the camp trembled.
But Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God,
and they stationed themselves at the foot of the mountain.
Mount Sinai was all wrapped in smoke,
for the LORD came down upon it in fire.
The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace,
and the whole mountain trembled violently.
The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking,
and God answering him with thunder.
When the LORD came down to the top of Mount Sinai,
he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain.”— Exodus 19:3-8a, 16-20b
One of the Mass readings on this Pentecost Sunday featured this episode from Exodus. Even as I listened amid an otherwise quiet church, these verses sparked the imagination in ways that Cecil B. DeMille couldn’t surpass in The Ten Commandments.
Amid all the sound and fury of the "thunder and lightning," "smoke," "furnace," and "very loud trumpet blast," along with the consequent verb "trembled," it’s important to remember that what is depicted in this awesome display and ceremony is the covenant between God and the once-enslaved Israelites, who will now be “a kingdom of priests, a holy nation”—as long as His “special possession” remains true to His laws.
The image accompanying this post, Mount Sinai, was created in 1570 by the Greek-born Spain painter El Greco (1541-1614).

No comments: