Text Box: Exodus 3: 1—8
I Corin. 10: 1—6, 10—12
Luke 13: 1--9

 
 

 

St Stephen Lewisham

 

3rd March 2013

The Burning Bush

The story of Moses’ encounter with God on Mount Horeb is full of lessons, which a hasty or careless listener or reader may easily overlook.

Firstly, Moses met God not in a temple or other religious building but in the wilderness on the side of a mountain. That’s how many people first encounter God, when they are going through a period in their lives which feels like a deserted wilderness. But wildernesses are often ‘holy’ places where God is to be found. Sinai, Pisgah, Carmel and the Mount of Transfiguration which we heard about last week are all place where people who are spiritually ‘turned on’ have met God.

Many people wanting to ‘discover God’ – What and Who He is, and what He wants us to do – imagine that a church, a monastery, a retreat house or a cathedral is the only place to find Him.

Well, many do indeed find Him that way. But equally many people will say that they just haven’t found God in such places. The buildings may be beautiful, the worship inspiring, the people friendly, but somehow they just don’t enable people to find what (or rather Whom) they are looking for.

However, there are other ways and places of finding God. Let’s go back to Moses and think what he was doing when God’s revealed Himself.

Moses wasn’t praying; he wasn’t reading his Bible; he wasn’t talking to his spiritual director; he wasn’t joining in an act of corporate worship. No – he was doing his job which was looking after his father-in-law’s sheep: a pretty boring job for someone of his intelligence and ability

It was his natural curiosity at the sight of the burning bush which caught his attention. That bush defied the laws of nature, because the harder it burnt, the less it seemed to be turned into ashes. ‘I must go and look at this strange sight’, Moses said to himself, ‘and see why this bush is not burnt up.’ In other words, his curiosity got the better of him.

So he approached the bush, and God immediately told him to take off his shoes. That gesture is a mark of reverence and respect – and at the very moment that Moses reverenced and respected God, the Almighty decided to reveal Himself to Moses. And not just reveal Himself, but also to reveal the whole Plan of Life which He had devised for Moses from the moment that he was conceived.

God is Someone who reveals Himself to anyone He chooses; and He has revealed Himself to us. Once He has our attention His revelations will continue to come: at any time, in any way, at any age or in any place. In a church, on a mountain, reading our bible, saying our prayers, or simply going about our day-to-day business. But all such ongoing revelation depends on our allowing Him firstly to attract our attention and curiosity; secondly on us approaching Him in an attitude of worship – and thirdly, it will necessarily involve our being willing to obey Him in whatever He tells us to do.

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