Day 9 - Call

Sunlight streaming through the branches of a tree

Day 9 - Listen here

 

Exodus 3: 1-5 

And Moses was looking after the sheep of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the sheep beyond the desert. And he came to Mount Horeb. And an angel of the Lord appeared to him in flaming fire out of the bush; and he saw that the bush was burning with fire – but the bush was not being burnt up. And Moses said, ‘As I pass by, I shall see this great sight, why the bush is not being burnt up.’ And when the Lord saw that he was approaching, the Lord called him from the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ He said, ‘What is it?’ And he said, ‘Do not approach here; take the sandal off your feet. For the place where you are standing is holy ground.’

Reflection

The “holy ground” where God meets Moses is not an Egyptian temple but a scrubby desert bush. And Moses does not at first recognize the presence of God in such an inauspiciously ordinary place. He is motivated by simple curiosity, to “see this great sight” – a bush on fire but not consumed.

Then the dynamic changes. Moses approaches to see, but is himself seen by God. This is a God who can speak, and who already knows Moses. He calls him by name: “Moses, Moses!” What does Moses feel at this moment? Shock, certainly. Holy awe, surely – “fear and trembling.” And possibly, too, feelings of renewed guilt and unworthiness. Moses is, after all, still a renegade murderer.

God chooses to act decisively in history beginning in this outback, through this man with a past. Moses cannot possibly know at this stage, but it is at Mount Horeb – at least according to one dominant tradition – that God will later give the law to the whole of the Israelite people. Then, crowds will gather before the mountain of thunder and cloudy fire. For now, however, there is only a single man before a crackling bush.

Moses and the Burning bush (16th century painting)

Prayer

God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, 

You called Moses in the desert.

You called him from obscurity and disgrace.

And you had a great plan of liberation in mind – to call your people through Moses out of Egypt.

Please come into the deserts, the obscurities and disgraces of my life. Meet me there.

Help me to be attentive to where you are already present, calling out to me. You know me by name.

You have a plan for me – a plan to liberate me which will liberate others too. I recognize you in this ordinary, holy, time and place.

 

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