Moses on the Mountain Play

By Linda Porter Carlyle

Joseph Anderson Donetti squirmed.

“Hold still!” Mrs. Pastor Chuck said. “Your beard will be all lopsided!”

Joseph obediently tried not to wiggle. But the prickly moustache attached to the beard tickled his nose. He was afraid he was going to sneeze.

Mac watched Mrs. Pastor Chuck finish tying on the long beard. “You look absolutely awesome!” she said. “I think you should grow a real beard. Well, as soon as you are old enough to. But it would take years to grow one that long!”

Joseph twisted his head so he could see himself in the mirror. Long, curly beard. Yellow and brown striped costume. He barely recognized himself.

Pastor Chuck grinned. “You look just like Moses!” he exclaimed.

Joseph shifted from one foot to the other. “I think I’m getting nervous!” he said.

“I’m glad you’re Moses and not me!” Trevor breathed. “I wouldn’t want to do your part!”

I wouldn’t be nervous!” Mac put in. “But nobody asked me if I wanted to be Moses! Just because I’m not a boy,” she grumbled.

Pastor Chuck reached out and tugged one of Mac’s bright red curls. “Be patient,” he said understandingly. “Maybe someday we can act out the story of Deborah for church. Or maybe the story of Ruth and Naomi. Or maybe Esther. Then you’ll have a chance for a starring role. In the meantime, just concentrate on being a brave Israelite woman.”

Mrs. Pastor Chuck winked at Mac over Joseph’s head. “She certainly looks the part to me,” she said.

Mac looked down at her long, flowing blue costume. “Do you think the Israelites’ clothes looked this good after walking in the desert for forty years? I mean, they must have looked a little ratty by then, don’t you think?”

“Don’t you remember,” Hannah put in, “that their clothes and their shoes didn’t wear out? It was a miracle.”

Pastor Chuck nodded. “That whole 40-year experience in the wilderness was just plumb full of miracles,” he said. “God gave the Children of Israel their food. He gave them water. He gave them shade from the hot desert sun. He gave them light and warmth in the cold nights with the pillar of fire. I mean, God was right there with them. They could see His presence!”

“I wish we could see God’s presence today!” Mac replied. “That would be so cool!”

“Come here, Mac,” Mrs. Pastor Chuck said. “Let me pin this scarf on your head.”

“Let’s review our parts,” Pastor Chuck said, rubbing his hands together. “Remember, now, that Moses is talking to all the Children of Israel. All you ‘Children of Israel’ are going to stand on the right side of the stage. Moses is going to stand sort of in the middle. Everybody needs to keep his or her eyes on Moses and listen to him carefully. Remember, the Children of Israel won’t be seeing Moses again because the Lord told him he couldn’t go into the Promised Land.”

“Was Moses pretty old and crippled up?” Joseph asked. “Should I hobble on the stage?”

Pastor Chuck grabbed his Bible. “Listen to this. ‘Moses was a hundred and twenty years old when he died; he was as strong as ever, and his eyesight was still good,’” he read. “I guess you should walk on the stage boldly, and strongly,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

“OK, Moses,” Pastor Chuck cleared his throat, “let’s hear your speech.”

Joseph stood up straight. He took a deep breath. “‘Israel, remember this!’” he began. “‘The Lord—and the Lord alone—is our God. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.’” Joseph made his voice deep and full of authority.

“‘Never forget these commands that I am giving you today,’” he went on. “Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away; when you are resting and when you are working . . . When the Lord brings you into this land and you have all you want to eat, make certain that you do not forget the Lord who rescued you from Egypt where you were slaves.’”

“Very good!” Pastor Chuck said, clapping his hands. “That was impressive! Now, class, tell me in one sentence exactly what Moses is trying to tell the people.”

“That God is worthy of our worship!” the whole class shouted.

Pastor Chuck looked at his watch. “It’s time!” He said. He cast an eye over his little group of Israelites. “Let’s join hands and pray that the Lord will be with us and that the congregation will be blessed by our play. And that none of us here today ever forget that God is worthy of our worship,” he added.


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