Reading: Exodus 3: 1-6
Verse Five: Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.
Moses’ life has settled into a simple daily rhythm. Life consists of eat, sleep, and take care of the sheep. For Moses, the wilderness is a welcome refuge. He grew up safe and protected and in need of nothing as the son of the daughter of Pharaoh. Then he found out about his heritage, defended a fellow Israelite, and ended up fleeing Egypt in fear for his life. Jethro had taken him in and life was slow and quiet and peaceful, just as Moses wanted it.
Moses is not alone in his preference for the simpler, more relaxed lifestyle. Many people choose to do not something because it is just easier. There is more ease and less commitment to sit on the couch after supper instead of going for the walk. It is easier to sleep in and watch cartoons than it is to get the kids up and ready for church. It is easier to ignore the problem when a child has stolen something than it is to knock on the door and engage your neighbor in the difficult conversation. It is easier to change the channel than it is to watch the news footage and to feel the urge to send some money. This list can go on and on, can’t it?
Moses encounters the God that he has largely been absent from in the burning bush. Moses is drawn to this strange site. Once there at the bush, God has his attention and He calls Moses’ name. Moses senses who he hears and responds, “Here I am”. He accepts God’s call to engage again. God goes on to instruct Moses, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground”. It is a gentle reminder that to be in the presence of God is to be in a holy place. When Moses realizes just where he is at and just who he is with, fear overtakes him and he hides his face.
At times we too can wander into the presence of God. Life is just rolling along as we tend our sheep (or sit on the couch or snooze or turn away…) and suddenly God intercedes in our lives. An injustice or a tragedy or something else triggers compassion or righteous anger or empathy and we are called by God to engage, to get involved, to make a difference. The unjust or unfair situation is our ‘burning bush’. Then we too must decide. As God calls “John” or “Susan” or “Henry” or “Jen” or …, do we too say, “Here I am”? May it be so.