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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mount Sinai

Reading: Exodus 19-34

We cannot pass this section of Genesis without a mention of Mount Sinai - the great holy mountain of God. Although "the whole earth is mine" (Exodus 19:5) according to the Lord, Mount Sinai was where God came down upon the mountain in the sight of all the people. The Israelites were only allowed to stand at the foot of the mountain, with the higher reaches being so holy only Moses was invited to enter there.

"The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. Moses entered the cloud, and went up on the mountain." Exodus 24:16-18
"Be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai and present yourself there to me, on the top of the mountain." Exodus 34:2
When Moses came down from the mountain his face shone because he had been speaking with God.
The story of Moses and Mount Sinai is the story of the original 'wilderness experience'. Today, many people turn to nature and the wilderness when they wish to be closer to God. In the wilds we find it easier to still the noises of the world and instead hear the quiet voice of God. Nature's majesty and splendour leads us to praise God and its bounty and joy to thankfulness. Town planners try to cater for our need for nature by providing parks as small oases where we can escape from our cities. For others, their gardens are a vital link to nature - their connection to soil and life. Some have to retreat to the wilderness, to climb the mountain in order to find God.
It is an important part of our lives of faith to take this time to worship and connect with God through creation. People worship in different ways, but for those of us who need nature, it is important to protect areas of wilderness and natural beauty so that future generations will also have somewhere to go and learn about God. Everyone needs to make their face shine occasionally.

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+