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One of my favorite cinematic moments of all time is in the Ten Commandments when Moses encounters God at the fiery bush that didn't burn.
"Moses! Moses!" God calls out from within the bush, in a deep, bellowing voice.
And there Moses, played by Charlton Heston in one of the epic performances of all time, meets "I Am Who I Am" and sets out to set His people free.
It was a great moment in a great movie.
Over the years, I must admit, as I've read those lines in Exodus 3, I do so replaying the movie's scene in mind ? and do so, remembering that same, bellowing voice. In fact, I've probably read it aloud that way as well, during a sermon or two.
I just can't help it.
I've heard that the voice used for God in that scene was actually Heston's own, slowed down to produce the desired effect. Heston, of course, has since heard that Voice in the truest of its forms this past week, having departed this life for the next at the age of 84. There's certainly nothing to compare to that reality, I'm sure, but I wonder what it has been like for him to actually meet Moses.
"Mr. Heston, good to finally meet you," states Moses.
"Sir, the pleasure's all mine," Heston responds.
"Now, a couple things to remember," states Moses. "First, no guns allowed here. There are no amendments to the laws of this land. And second, the original is always better than an imitation. So don't get any ideas. My seat's secure."
I doubt they'll discuss Heston's portrayal of the Biblical hero. Something tells me there's been more important dialogue to consider. I imagine Heston has been learning some truth he just couldn't have imagined prior to his arrival.
He may even be reconsidering his gun stance.
Don't take me wrong. I'm not against gun ownership, though I don't own one myself ? at least right now. My Grandfather hunted, and did well. My Dad hunted too, though I'm not sure he ever actually killed anything. I hunted once. I got chiggers and never went back again. The squirrels were safe from me. I did go rat hunting with a friend of mine in Kansas, though, using a pellet gun. And I do admit to secretly enjoying hearing the click of mouse traps taking action in my old garage. One time I set up a dozen traps in that garage, baited with cheese and peanut butter. I hadn't even closed the door before the "SNAPS" started. I gleefully went in a while later, deposited my kill, and set the traps again. In all, I think I got rid of some 18 mice overnight.
But there's a limit to that joy. And it stops somewhere around the fight for the right for all of us to have access to some semi-automatic weapons. Because I'm not a gun owner, I confess I've never really delved deeply into the subject. I know my Dad dropped his NRA membership over that issue back in the 1980s.
To be honest, I'm not quite sure where God stands on that. Heston has had a few days to touch base on that question by now.
Those Hollywood types who opposed Heston's stance on gun laws could be cruel at times, as the revered actor battled with Alzheimer's. That's unfortunate. He was a great actor who eventually succumbed to a terrible disease ? a disease each of them might also one day face. The good news is that's all behind Heston now. There is a time of healing to those who have believed.
Heston helped, through his roles in The Ten Commandments and even Ben Hur, many to be people of faith. It's always interesting that The Ten Commandments is shown around Easter on network television because it's an Old Testament account of God's judgment, not the New Testament account of His grace. Of course, Biblically the resurrection story has its roots in the deliverance of God's people from Egypt. And the ten commandments, according to Scripture, do serve as a "schoolmaster," showing us we need the resurrected Savior. But I always wonder how many people actually make that connection.
It's probably shown at Easter more because the movie is one of the classics, religious or otherwise, of all time. Whatever the reason, it's always worth a look.