Daily Devotion - Thursday, Feb 11, 2016
Throughout the season of Lent, we'll be focusing on some of the Scriptures that are included in the daily lectionary readings each week of the season. I'll be sharing portions of those passages that speak to me and reflecting on them.
“Forty years later, in the desert near Mount Sinai, an angel appeared to Moses in the flame of a burning bush. When Moses saw it, he was amazed at the sight. As he went to take a closer look, the voice of the Lord called out to him..." - Acts 7:30-31
I've had this idea for a while now--an idea about miracles, signs and wonders. I used to think that miracles, signs and wonders were the exception in our lives and not the rule. In other words, most of our lives are spent doing pretty mundane, and uninspiring things, but every once in a while we experience something incredible, a miracle, a sign, something wonderful and perhaps even a bit mystical and otherworldly.
And when we experience those moments, we feel like our hearts are going to burst within us. It's the moment when our children are born, perhaps. Or when we hear the news that the cancer is just...gone. Maybe it's that time when things worked out so perfectly that it just couldn't be coincidence. So we sit back in those moments and we feel ourselves breathing a bit faster, and every hair everywhere is standing on end, and we know...
We just experienced the Divine. God's presence was made known to us, and we feel it, we are certain. And even the very ground we are standing on feels holy, changed, not-of-this world.
In the Scripture from today's Lenten lectionary reading, we are hearing the voice of St. Stephen as he preaches to an angry crowd of Greek speaking Jews, some of them his own neighbors and friends, right before drag him out of the city and stone him to death. In this portion of the sermon Stephen re-tells the story of how the patriarch Moses encounters the burning bush in the wilderness.
Moses fled in the Sinai wilderness to escape Egypt and his past. He had resigned himself to a life as a shepherd, a nomad, tending sheep in the worst possible place to tend sheep. For forty years, the Scripture tells us, Moses trekked over the same old ground. And then one day he saw a bush that was on fire, but was not burning up. When he approached it, the voice of God spoke to him from the bush, telling him to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground.
Not that long ago, I realized something about this story: the bush had always been there, but Moses never saw it. The ordinary ground he'd been walking on all those years was holy, and he didn't even know it, he never realized it, never looked up really. He was too busy putting one foot in front of the other, caught up in the mundane, the trivial, the irrelevant.
Meanwhile, there was this bush burning in the wilderness. And when he finally saw it, when he finally realized it was there all along, that's when the voice of God spoke to Moses. It took Moses forty years to open his eyes.
How many miracles, signs and wonders are we missing because our eyes are trained firmly on the sidewalk in front of us? If we believe that the Divine presence is all around us, that God is the Universe, the Cosmos, and permeates everything that surrounds us, then doesn't it stand to reason that the miraculous ought to be the rule, and not the exception?
What if there are burning bushes all around us, all of the time but we just aren't noticing them? What if the ground that we are walking on is holy and we just don't know it? What if God is speaking all around us, and we aren't listening?
May you step into this day with open eyes, open ears and an open mind. May you begin to realize all of the holy moments, the miraculous moments that are springing up all around you, all of the time. May you live your life expecting the unexpected as the rule and not the exception. May you experience God in ways that you never thought possible.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.