Moses’ ordinary life as a shepherd is interrupted and upended when he spies “a flame of fire out of a bush” that “was blazing, yet it was not consumed.” As most of us would if we saw such a sight, Moses wants a closer look. Once he has changed direction to check it out, God calls him by name. “Moses, Moses!” And Moses answers, “Here I am.” When God has Moses’ attention, God instructs the shepherd and soon-to-be leader to keep a distance and show reverence by taking off his sandals.

Perhaps you yearn for your own burning bush moment—something dramatic, a clear sign that God knows you and has a plan for your life. But God comes to humanity in many ways. Our burning bush may be words of challenge or comfort spoken by an honest friend, a sudden realization about a necessary action, or a moment of clarity about an important decision.

A man fell into a mountain cave and wondered if anyone would ever find him. Alone in the deep darkness, he was gifted with the sure sense that he would be rescued. “God didn’t exactly call my name, but I felt a deep peace in my core that helped me stay calm for fourteen hours until I was found.” When a woman observed a particularly vivid sunrise, she felt a sense of the Holy that led her to volunteer with a nature conservancy that eventually led to a career change.

No matter what our burning bush might look like, Moses’ divine interaction in the desert reminds us that God knows us by name. God meets us where we are. God comes to each of us in a way that touches us deeply. Where we are in each present moment is sacred.

God, help me recognize that where I am standing, right now and in each moment, is holy ground so that I will be ready to hear you call my name. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Matthew 16:21-28

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Lectionary Week
August 24–30, 2020
Scripture Overview

Moses has fled Egypt and is living in the desert, where God calls him to return and free the Israelites. Moses resists, but God does not relent. In many of the Psalms, the psalmist reviews God’s record of faithfulness. Psalm 105 is no different and highlights the calling of Moses. In Romans, Paul addresses practical ethical concerns. How should we treat those who treat us poorly? We should never repay evil for evil, but instead should bless those who harm us. This goes against our natural instincts, yet the gospel is countercultural and calls us to a higher standard. In Matthew, Peter has just had a tremendous moment in declaring his faith in Christ. Now he stumbles in failing to understand that Jesus’ path to glory will pass through suffering.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Exodus 3:1-15. What sacred encounter might have been your burning bush? How did you know God’s presence was with you in the encounter?
Read Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45b. How does obedience to God shape your life? Recall an instance where your obedience to God’s call or teachings made a difference.
Read Romans 12:9-21. When has working toward a common goal helped you better love your family, friends, or community?
Read Matthew 16:21-28. When have you had to trust God and accept that you “have no idea how God works”? How did your trust help you through the situation?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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