The burning bush is not described as an ordinary event. The bush was burning and yet it was not burnt out- nothing like the fires that consume mountainsides in California or Siberia or Australia or wherever, today. These simply fire out of control and do away with beautiful landscapes and livelihoods. And no one doubts that they are destructive.
Something tells me that there was a level of ordinariness to the burning bush in Exodus 3. It was in Moses’ workspace, even though he had led his flock “beyond the wilderness”
Yet, I suspect, some get called out in ordinary situations. Moses met God in this one. And where he met God was holy ground. It was ordinary ground for that was where this shepherd kept his flock. And yet it was extraordinary for there he met God.
Are we ready to encounter the holy, in extraordinary ways in the midst of the ordinary? Moses had to take his shoes off. I start to ponder now what it is that I must take off if where I stand is holy ground? It must be, for God is here with me; and anything that I must take off must make room for God and what God wills. Unlike Moses, though, I am past my prime and I don’t expect to be called to do anything about delivering a people, nothing so lofty. And I don’t want to be afraid for on the holy ground I tread, God appears and does commissioning when I or anyone else least expects.
And maybe the burning bush was far from the ordinary place. It was “beyond the wilderness.” Do we need to travel through wilderness experiences that lead to nowhere other than “the mountain of God” if we are to know the God of the extraordinary? Do we practise such intense spiritual disciplines like fasting and much meditation and intense prayer akin to wilderness experiences which open up the way to our meeting place with God?
The saying goes “what you give is what you get.” When it comes to God, we all expect that God has much to give, and we, comparatively little. Maybe we need our thoughts reversed. Let’s see what we have to give – our sacrifices- as valuable. In giving sacrificially, we often meet God. Our hearts burn. There is a fire within us. We stand on holy ground as we encounter the God who was, who is, and always will be- God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob- God who has always been making a way for our ancestors, opening up holy ground even now and sending us on to prove that even in ordinary situations, the extraordinary happens.
Are you here, Lord, with me? Yes, you are. Thank you. Then this space is precious and this time is valuable. It’s your gift to me; and I give it to you. Amen.