Surprised by Holiness
Exodus 3: 1-6 (NRSVA)
1 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. 2 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. 3 Then Moses said, ‘I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.’ 4 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.’ 5 Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’ 6 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.
It started out as a normal day. A day much like any other. When I set out that day I never imagined I’d witness what I witness. I never expected my life...my purpose, to be so...how can I say it, radically changed.
I was tending to my father-in-law’s sheep and goats. I had led them across the desert with the plan of going to Sinai. I liked taking the animals that route. And Sinai was a Holy mountain, a sacred place. I always felt at peace there. As the animals grazed I would have time to think, reflect, about the family, about the past, about what I’d done…
As me and the animals were approaching Sinai I saw in the distance what looked like a bush on fire. But it was a constant flame, it wasn’t burning up. I’m thinking to myself, this is strange, am I seeing things? What is it?
As I got closer to the flame, the atmosphere changed. The animals sensed it too for they hung back and crowded together. Something weird was happening. So I went closer for a better look.
And as I edged forward I heard a voice come from inside the burning bush.
The voice was calling my name.
The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and my stomach dropped. I had to tell myself to keep breathing. I felt like my legs were going to give way. What was this? Had I lost my mind?
I forced myself to answer, yes I am here.
The voice said not to come any closer, to take off my sandals as we were standing on holy ground. And that he, the fire burning within the bush was God himself. God himself...how could that be? I turned my face away in fear. I couldn’t look at the Lord. I wasn’t worthy. Not after what I did. Was it now time to pay for my sins in Egypt? What could God possibly want with me? Whatever it was, one thing was for certain, my life was never going to be the same again. I took off my sandals and stood before God on that holy ground.
Open us up to your voice and your presence.
No matter where we are standing,
give us the courage to face you
and the the boldness to go wherever you lead us,
ready for whatever you ask of us.