As Moses looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. So Moses decided, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.”
God comes to Moses in both the ordinary (the bush) and the extraordinary (a flaming bush not being consumed) at the same time. First off, God is present in the ordinary. Are we being present enough to experience the Divine Presence? Are we paying attention? Secondly, God comes…not in a clear “black and white” concept…but in a contradiction: a burning bush that at the same time is not burned. We can take comfort in knowing that God is present amidst the contradictions of life and amidst our struggles with them…all the while holding them together as one. God seems perfectly comfortable with paradoxes like, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:39) or “virgin mother.” It would seem that we are being invited into the contradictions and paradoxes of life where there are no easy answers. As Rainer Maria Rilke stated: “Do not seek answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then, gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into answer” (Letters to a Young Poet, New York: Norton, 1954, pp. 34-5). So perhaps we are being taught to get beyond our “either-or” judgmental thinking…so we can experience a “both-and”…all-loving God. God is holding our contradictions…and responding with acceptance and love. Thank God!
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Bill, as I sat with this very same scripture this morning, it dawned on me……God didn’t intervene, S/He took advantage of Moses’ reaction to the bush. My translation says, “When the Lord saw that he (Moses) turned aside to see, God called out to him…” There is a profound message here for us….God is NEVER not present. We just don’t always pay attention enough to see what is standing right there in front of us. When Moses took notice, THEN God could speak. The invitation to me is to ask, “When and how am I taking notice so God can speak?”
PS We’re on the same page speaking about love this week. I love when universes collide (in a good way!).
Great point. God is always present…but we are not!