When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distanceand said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
Exodus 20: 18-19
It is difficult to undo our own damage, and to recall to our presence that which we have asked to leave. It is hard to desecrate a grove and change your mind. The very holy mountains are keeping mum. We doused the burning bush and cannot rekindle it; we are lighting matches in vain under every green tree. Did the wind use to cry and the hills sing forth praise?
~Annie Dillard from Teaching a Stone to Talk
We push God away, not wanting to see His fire, smell the smoke of His burning branches, nor feel the singe of our own eyelashes by His heat. In our discomfort, we fail to listen to His voice coming from the fire. So we have doused it, quenched our longing for Him by our fear of submitting to Him.
And we cannot relight the burning bush ourselves; it is rekindled only by His ignition through His incarnation — God With Us invites us back to the mountain, onto Holy Ground, to face Him.
Once again we can hear the wind cry and the hills sing forth praise by listening for the voice of God Himself.