Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, "I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up." When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." Then he said, "Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." He said further, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord said, “The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt." But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?" He said, "I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain."
Today is Wednesday the 17 July, in the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time.
As I enter into prayer today, I slow down. I slow right down and notice where I am, I notice what is around me, and I notice who is around me, the people here, what they look like, what they are doing, the expressions on their faces. In all of this, God is present. Right here, right now. God’s presence sanctifies this ordinary place, and these ordinary people, and makes them holy.
Today’s reading is from the Book of Exodus.
In the ancient world, fire was a mysterious presence from another world, a corridor between heaven and earth. It was fire which consumed the sacrifice, taking it to God’s abode. To this day, we often use a candle to signify that God is present. A burning bush on God’s holy mountain serves as a powerful reminder to Moses of a forgotten truth – that God is here, with us, in our world, seeking to draw men and women into relationship with Himself.
So today I ask myself, when have I found myself powerfully reminded that God was with me? ...When have I heard God call my name? What helps put me in touch with that presence?
As you hear the passage again now, notice how the sense of presence is also a challenge, a mission for Moses. He is already a shepherd, a guide, but what is being asked of him now is a lot more than he is used to. Is this also part of your recent experience of God’s presence?
Moses speaks intimately to God, expressing his doubts and concerns without any hint of embarrassment: take a few moments now to do the same, to get that same kind of conversation going with God.