The New Liturgist | Moses and the Three Writers

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by Bonnie Perry
[excerpted from Writers on Writing, with special thanks to Wesleyan Publishing House]


I write only when I’m inspired. Fortunately I’m inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.

–William Faulkner

Why write? The question begs an answer, even from those of us who have chosen to make a career of getting words on paper in some form or fashion. After all, it’s not that much fun, this writing stuff. I have a postcard bearing a quote from Gene Fowler pinned above my desk. “Writing is easy;” it says. “All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”

The easy answer to my question would be something noble sounding, such as “I believe in the power of words.”

True . . . but not enough. For believers, God must figure into the equation.So, as a Christian, I come back to the question, why write? I got my answer one gorgeous spring afternoon in Kansas City—when I wanted to be outside enjoying the weather but instead sat inside at my desk, glumly preparing a workshop for a writers’ conference. That day, God gave me my answer as I was randomly flipping through my Bible, halfheartedly looking for inspiration. I call my epiphany, “Moses and the Three Writers.”

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro . . . and he led the flock to the far side of the desert . . . to the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush . . .

God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. . . .”

At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey. . .”

For many believers this story of Moses is a familiar narrative. We’ve heard sermon after sermon on this passage of Scripture. That spring day as I read the account (wondering why God led me there), the words said something unexpected to me. I believe it has something unexpected to say to writers as well.

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