John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

The Mountain Comes With You

Moses had his mountain top experience -- literally. He went up to the top of a mountain and spoke with God. That must have been an amazing and overwhelming experience. Just imagine, sitting and listening to God and knowing that it's really God and not just the leftover pizza you had for breakfast. It's not your imagination. It's not what you wish God would say. You are sitting on top of a mountain listening to God, and -- what's more -- you're talking back and he's listening to you!

That's got to go down in history as one of the most spiritually formative event of all times, right?

It's no wonder that Moses was glowing when he came back down to earth. Everyone must have noticed. There was a real, literal glow radiating from Moses' face.

It certainly must have been more than a little distracting for people -- trying to talk to a guy whose face is emitting light like that. Did they shield their eyes or make him face the other way? Did Moses' wife ask him, "Could you bring your face over here to the corner? I dropped something and can't find it."

Was it his wife's idea for him to put a veil over his face in the first place? "Moses, please, I can't sleep. Can't you turn that thing off?"

The veil was a good idea at first -- helped people not think about the fact that his face was beaming while he was trying to talk about stuff. But, after a while, according to the apostle Paul, Moses kept the veil on even after his face had returned to normal.

What was that like? Did Moses lay awake at night watching the light grow more and more dim like a candle just before it goes out? Like an old TV set where the picture just gets darker and darker and darker?

Would people still think he's special -- even without the glowing face? Maybe it would be better to keep the veil on for a few more days. Maybe he could go back up to the mountain top and get another dose of whatever it was that caused this strange phenomenon in the first place.

When did he finally muster the courage to go outside without the veil?

It must have been when he finally realized the glow was gone and wasn't coming back.

The apostle Paul says something interesting for those of us who live in this age where the Spirit of God is present and active in, among and through us. He says it's possible for the mountain to come with us -- at least the experience we had on top of the mountain. Jesus' promise to never leave us, to never forsake us, the Immanuel presence of God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit -- all of that means the thing that charges us up isn't in any fixed location. It's not in the mountains somewhere waiting for us to plug it. It has plugged itself into us.

Any place is now a potentially holy place.

Any activity is now a potentially holy activity.

Spiritual formation doesn't just take place somewhere "out there". It can happen right here, too.