The Lord’s messenger appeared to him in a flame of fire in the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was in flames, but it didn’t burn up. (Exodus 3:2, Common English Bible)
Moses was out minding his own business, keeping watch over his flock. It was a pretty normal day, as normal days go. Moses was born to a Hebrew slave, raised in the Egyptian palace, fled to Midian after killing another man, and there he married the daughter of Jethro, a Midianite priest. Life was far from normal for this man.
Life had started to get okay. No more pretending. No more running. No more looking over his shoulder.
In the normal and the mundane of everyday life, Moses saw something extraordinary. It was bush burning. At first, it was just part of the mundane. It was not all that uncommon for a shepherd like Moses to see such a site. But this site was different. While the bush was on fire, it was not burning up. Moses had to get a closer look, wouldn’t you?
And as he did, he heard the words, “Take off your shoes, you are standing on holy ground.”
There have been a lot paintings, movies, and sermons about this man named Moses; about his answering of God’s call and his leadership. Kathy Beach-Verhey, in the Interpretation journal, reminds us as is so often the case in the Bible, that this calling of Moses story is more about who God is and what God does.
God spoke to Moses in the midst of the mundane. God spoke in the midst of his work day. God spoke in the midst of looking out for his sheep.
In the midst of our everyday, mundane lives, we too can hear echoes from the burning bush. In the midst of cooking dinner, God speaks. In the midst of getting the kids to school, God speaks. In the midst of changing diapers, God speaks. In the midst of feeding the dog, God speaks. In the midst of driving to work, God speaks. In the midst of answering phones in a cubicle, God speaks.
And God speaks, because God hears.
Exodus is clear, God has heard the cries of God’s people. The people who are enslaved and oppressed in a foreign land have been crying out to their God. When God’s people cry, God cries. When God’s people suffer, God suffers. When God’s people are oppressed, God is oppressed.
When God hears, God speaks.
God speaks to us in the midst of our mundane and normal lives because their are others around who are living oppression and who are suffering. The echo from the burning bush rings in our ears and our hearts. Sometimes it is a bush on fire. Sometimes it is a whisper in the night. Sometimes it is a song we sing. Sometimes it is in the words we read.
However God speaks to us, God is calling us to set God’s people free. And like Moses, we might get a little nervous, anxious, or even may try and get out of it. What is important, however, is that no matter what the task is, no matter how high the wall of oppression is, no matter how heartbreaking the suffering, God will always be with us.
It is the promise that God has given down through the ages. “I will be you with always.” When we answer the call – whatever that call may be – we accept a huge responsibility, just as Moses did. No matter, God is with us offering compassion and guidance.
Are you listening to the echoes from the burning bush in your life?