“As the blast of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses would speak and God would answer him in thunder.” Exodus 19:19 NRSV
[Cacophony – an unpleasant combination of loud, often jarring, sounds.] Appropriate descriptive word for what is going on here, don’t you think? This is not consistent with our idea of prayer. (And it is praying, you know. Moses is talking to God, directly.) Some scriptures say to go to your closet to pray as opposed to those who stand on the street corners and yell their prayers. But here, and I really hope you open THE BOOK and read the whole thing, God and Moses are yelling it out in competition with really, really loud trumpets. This is not the “still small voice” of God in Elijah’s story. This is not the heart-wrenching drops-of-blood prayer of Jesus in the darkened garden. This is all stops pulled, pedal to the metal, rocking and rolling communication with God that reverberates through the mountain till it trembles, all with fire and thick smoke and thunder. And God tells Moses, “Do NOT let those people come up here!!!” Are you kidding? I would run in the opposite direction, I think.
On the other hand, maybe this kind of communication is just what we need sometimes: an all-holds-barred kind of talk with God, reveling in the boldness of it, standing in the glory of God, breathing in God’s spirit filled words and repeating them to the people amidst the fire and smoke.
Even if I have to stand at the base of the mountain.
God of Fire and Smoke and Thunder, your glory is boundless, your Word is complete. Let me feel the fierceness of your love even as I stand at the base of your mountain trembling in the cacophony! Amen!
— Pastor Fay Ann Blaylock, First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and Zion United Church of Christ