with Rev. Rachel
3 HE LOOKED Exodus 3
I forgot to get all worked up about the science. I missed the memo that the truth of this story somehow hinges on playing defense attorney for Moses. Sigh.
Which species could have caused Moses to hallucinate? That’s what happened, right? Which bushes on ancient arid mountains would have been able to catch fire and not disintegrate? Some sort of brambles, no? An Acacia tree?
Folks have asked. Others continue to jump in, eager as ever, to keep the wheels on whichever wagon they’re comfortable pulling.
I am inclined to ask: Who cares? Because I know it sounds insensitive—belittling, even—I’ll wonder differently, here. Might we be getting wrapped up in stuff that suffocates this story of its life force? This is about God calling, y’all! And about Moses discovering that God summons ordinary people through some not so ordinary happenings to be and to do the most improbable things.
Early in Exodus Moses shows us what it looks like to come a little closer. He stays a while. He entertains the charge he might have to keep and expresses his reservations, which then gives God the chance to assure and reassure.
We too inhabit a world of phenomena; natural or supernatural, this distinction matters less than whether or not we stop and inspect, on the chance that God is at work. The angel of God appears in flames of fire blazing out of the middle of a bush. And Moses looked. The rest is sacred history.
It also happens to be the stuff of a sacred present. Holy ground doesn’t grow on trees. It springs forth when the likes of a tree on fire gets our attention and we turn and tune in.
I think of liturgical seasons in that light. You can carry on without noticing the Church’s calendar. No harm done. Or you can peer in to the oddity of it all figuring that God has appeared through stranger things; in a flame of fire or by boat, to a lakeshore, just to name two.
In any case, God is calling y’all. Don’t duck the encounter. There is an aspect of kingdom building and your role therein for which to listen. Best of all, at least for a country girl…we get to figure it out barefoot (v.5).