Coming Down From the Mountain – 170226

Coming Down from the Moutain

Exodus 24:12-18 & Exodus 32:15-17

Do you remember a sermon that has stuck with you for years, or one that, when it was delivered, appeared as if it was written just for you?

For me, there have been a number of sermons like this, but one was about being on the mountain top in today’s lectionary reading. This particular sermon given some 16 years and 10 months ago, reminded me that we must come back down and be with the people who lived and worked and grew on the plain at the foot of the mountain.

I had just concluded a two year placement as the Coordinator of the Full Service Schools program for Students At Risk for the federal government. I managed this program for 105 secondary schools, 9 TAFE colleges, the University of Western Sydney and a number of non-government training organisations. I employed staff, created courses of vocational education and managed a budget figured in the millions.

When it concluded (as the government in its wisdom decided that there were no more 12-25 year olds at Risk in south-western Sydney) I moved back into the School system as a lowly Head Teacher at Bankstown Girls High School. Working back at the coal face comes with its challenges – was I ready to step back onto the plan with its less rarified, yet richer atmosphere?

The sermon was delivered by Lay preacher Trevor Corkin at Lugarno Peakhurst’s evening service, and it helped me set my face to this new challenge to take up the yoke – with all its joys and hardship.

Today, at the conclusion of this service you will have the opportunity to talk to the Church Councillors, who are putting together teams to grow the body of Christ here in the next 2-5 years.

We have talked about this ‘on the mountain top’ for some time. We have decided to form a new mission committee, a new Social Justice committee, a new property maintenance

group and a new Property Enhancement Committee. We will continue with our Business Development Committee, our Finance Committee, and we now have facilitators for each of these groups.

What we need now is members to bring about the change, for share ideas and actions and to move the church forward. This is where the rubber hits the road.

None of this will be easy. Remember Moses came down from the mountain and must have been crest fallen as he found his people in disarray and with self-interest uppermost in their motives. He had to start again, to activate his leadership reassemble the goals and codes (the things we might call the Ten Commandments) and perhaps himself be reminded that he may not be around to see the fulfilment of the dream (He would never enter the Promised Land).

But… maybe that doesn’t matter as much as the fact that the light is passed onto the next generation, and while here we just do our bit.

On April 3, 1968, Martin Luther King, was a day away from death, a man who’d been to the mountain top but one who lived on the plain with and for his people. martin-luther-king-jr-i-have-a-dream-facebook-timeline-cover

He – like us – was always working and walking towards the promised land – always with eyes fixed towards the goal, but getting there in the community of brothers and sisters with the same focus.

He said:
Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.

And I don’t mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!


And so I’m happy, tonight.

I’m not worried about anything.

I’m not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!


As you consider the call of God for you, down on the plain and onto the mountain top, let’s listen together…..

Mine Eyes have seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord.



  1. As the writer of the sermon to which you refer, I am very touched. God has always been generous to me with my preaching and I take little credit. However, it is encouraging to hear that God speaks in many times and places.

    I also knew Margaret Somerville very well from many years at Rockdale U.C.

    • Lovely to hear from you Trevor. Thanks for your willingness to serve God in this way. If you’re ever down this way pop in and visit.

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