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Saturday, November 21, 2015
Today’s Reading | Exodus 3:1–15
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. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.” But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’: This is my name forever, and this my title for all generations.
So, there’s Moses, keeping watch over his flock in Midian (on the east coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, if you’re wondering), and he sees this bush on fire. Dry country, brush on fire, not unusual. Common sense among herding types dictates that you stay away so the animals don’t spook, and watch to see if the fire spreads, which could be bad.
The passage says that Moses looked and saw that the bush was not consumed. I wonder, how long did it take to notice this? You don’t just walk along and see a bush on fire and right off the bat notice that yes, it’s burning, but no, it’s not burning up. I mean, he’s not out there looking for God; he’s out there taking care of sheep, and as we see over and over again, sheep are not real bright and if you are not careful they are prone to wander off and become metaphors.
So our guy Moses is not really focused on the bush, just checking it out every once in a while. OK, fire’s not spreading, that’s good; it’ll burn out soon. Only it doesn’t, and after a while he figures, “That’s odd,” and decides he’ll go see what’s going on. And then amazing stuff happens.
God didn’t say, “Yo, Moses! Listen up!” He didn’t say “Hey, buddy! Over here!” He just set a bush on fire and waited to see if Moses was (a) paying attention, and (b) curious about what was going on. God was there, all the time, with a plan, and all he needed was for someone to become aware of it.
God’s already here. If we pay attention, if we follow up on our curiosity, who knows? Some amazing stuff can happen, and we could be right in the middle of it.
Lord, we go through so much of life with our heads down, grinding away. Help us to be awake to what’s going on in our world, and curious about how and why these things are happening. Use our awareness and curiosity to call us to be part of amazing things. Amen.
Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator of Fine Arts
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