Earth’s crammed with heaven, from….
And every common bush afire with God; Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
And only he who sees takes off his shoes; Aurora Leigh (1856), Book VII.
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
This is the story of the burning bush that was not consumed. It served to distract Moses from the task at hand so that God could reveal to Him that He was standing on holy ground. The larger context of this encounter is that Egypt, from which Moses has fled as a fugitive, had enslaved God’s chosen ones and they were groaning beneath their yoke of slavery. Their cry had arisen to God and He had taken account. Moses will be God’s instrument to liberate and lead God’s chosen ones to a land of promise.
Is the ground that you and I are standing on holy? Perhaps you are saying, “Of course not. I haven’t seen any burning bushes; I haven’t been drawn away from my responsibilities and heard any commissioning words from the great I AM”. So, was it the heat or the light radiating from the fire that made that ancient ground holy or was it simply the presence of God? I believe it was God’s presence that made Moses aware that the ordinary ground he was standing on was holy. If we have eyes to see and ears to hear, I believe we will discover it is God’s presence that makes the ground we stand on (or the circumstances of our lives) holy.
Where is God the Father right now? Where is Jesus Christ? Where is the Holy Spirit right now in relationship to us? If space permitted it, a strong case could be made that the circumstances of our lives are even now holy – bursting with potential because God is present. You might be saying, “I would still prefer a burning bush experience, an external stimulus to inspire and direct me; then I would be elevated above the common and the ordinary. Then I would have purpose”.
Since the birth of the Church, we Gentiles are being invited into the kingdom of God through a new and different covenant than the one ancient Israel had. We are living by faith in God’s administration of grace. In this season, authentic born again saints have the Holy Spirit in them as an internal stimulus enabling them to embrace a kingdom that is not yet fully visible.
Isn’t the context really the same between this old testament story and the one we are living in right now? Isn’t God still listening to the cries His chosen ones (His Church) along with the whole of creation for the liberation of the Sons of God? I have a dream of seeing the Church embrace by faith the Holy ground she walks on, where we discover that in-Christ our circumstances (however messy) are always optimum for us to grow progressively free and alive and become agents of deliverance (as was Moses) to those around us who we are called to love and invest in.
Father, I think if we were to see aright and we were to grasp that it is in-You, that we live and move and have our being, we would conclude that the word “ordinary” must be redefined -insuring that Your presence is included in it. Kindle our imagination and vision; awaken our faith; grant us intentionality and endurance so that we might discover our new identities as saints; as brothers and sisters of Jesus; as students of the Holy Spirit; as kings and priests; as sons and friends of God. You Lord are our burning bush. Burn brightly from within. Amen.