Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.” (Exodus 3:1-2)
As many of you know, a Bible study is currently being offered on some of the stories of Moses’ life. The scripture passage above is taken from the call of Moses. In this story, God gets Moses’ attention through a burning bush that is not consumed and speaks to him from this bush. God calls Moses by name and says to him: “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” It’s a beautiful story.
As I was reading it once again, the words of the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning immediately came to mind: “Earth’s crammed with heaven. And every common bush, afire with God. But only those who see, take off their shoes.” What a wonderful way to consider this ancient story.
The weather we have been having lately has been gorgeous and has certainly helped me better appreciate once again how the earth is “crammed with heaven.” The warmer air, the dazzling light, and the return of the green leaves have all been so welcome. I have been especially struck by the flowering trees and bushes this year. The cherry blossoms, the lilac, the wisteria, azalea, and Rhododendron have been amazing. More than once, I have been stopped in my tracks by the beauty of these flowering plants and been reminded of the sacred nature of God’s good creation. These “burning bushes” have gotten my attention and spoken to my heart.
The story of Moses’ call can remind us that the ground upon which we stand is indeed holy. We simply forget this at times. When we are reminded however, or when we remember, it changes us. Elizabeth Barrett Browning states that only those who truly “see” notice how every bush (and part of creation) is “afire with God.” Part of the journey of faith is developing the eyes needed to really “see” this truth. When we are given – or develop – the “eyes to see” we change and the world changes for us. We become more aware not only of the holiness of creation but of how God is indeed with us, speaking to us, calling out to us, and getting our attention. The French novelist, critic, and essayist Marcel Proust once noted “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” There is a lot of truth to this statement. Often the life of faith is learning how to see with new eyes. In the words of the Apostle Paul, the eyes of our hearts. (Ephesians 1:18). It involves learning how to see things in life as we believe God sees them.
May we continue to encourage each other to have these “new eyes” so that we will continue to discover and celebrate how life is indeed “afire with God” and how God is so near to each of us.
Blessings to you all