Tag Archives: The heavens declare the glory of God

God, hidden in plain sight

Lent 3B, 10 March 2015

Exodus 20.1-17
Psalm 19
1 Corinthians 1.18–25
John 2.13–22


We live in a world in which God’s work is largely hidden from us. Yes, Psalm 19 reminds us:

The heavens declare the glory of God—

and we know that more than any other generation. They’ve just discovered a black hole that is about 12 billion times more massive than the sun. It’s also around 12 billion light years away, which means it’s 12 billion years old. It’s almost as old as the entire universe! A black hole that old shouldn’t exist. Physicists are going to have to change their ideas about how black holes are formed. Yes,

The heavens do indeed declare the glory of God.

But: people see nothing of God in the heavens without the eye of faith—even just a little faith. God’s glory is hidden from their eyes.

I want to claim today that while the heavens, are majestically great, they are not God’s greatest work. God’s greatest work is greater still than the heavens—yet it is even more hidden from human eyes.

What is this ‘greatest work’?

Might it be the giving of the Ten Commandments, the law, on Mt Sinai? The story says that before Moses went up Mt Sinai alone except for his brother Aaron,

there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled.

The story says ‘Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the Lord had descended upon it in fire…’ It says that God spoke to Moses in thunder and that the people were not allowed anywhere near for their own safety. If I were there, I’d have been relieved to stay away.

On the mountain God gives the law, which begins

I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; you shall have no other gods before me.

It goes on to set the limits of people’s behaviour—do not lie, steal, commit adultery and so on.

This law has formed the basis of our own code of laws today. Surely it is the greatest work of God?

No, I’m afraid it’s not.

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