Each Lent I find myself drawn towards Moses and the story of the burning bush.
Moses is tending sheep in the wilderness when he receives an invitation, an invitation to draw nearer to God, barefoot.
Moses first sees a bush, then he sees that it’s on fire, then he sees that it’s not consumed, and then looking deeper he hears the voice of God. Take off your shoes for you stand on holy ground. I don’t believe this is a literal instruction about footwear but rather an instruction to remove whatever keeps us from encountering God’s holiness.
Remove your shoes for you are on holy ground – remove whatever is keeping you distant from God’s holiness.
Moses was drawn to that bush, and once there he discovered there was much more, for that bush wasn’t just a bush, wasn’t just a bush on fire, wasn’t even a bush on fire but unburnt, from that bush Moses learnt something more of God, he was invited to take off his shoes to experience the holiness of God.
That bush still burns, it isn’t consumed, the flames still lick at its branches and we too stand in front of it, but what do we see? Do we notice God’s holiness in front of us, under us, on the very ground on which we walk? Do we hear God’s voice reminding us that; as we walk along a busy street, even traverse the isles of the supermarket or crowd onto an already crowed train; we are walking on holy ground.
We may indeed see the bush but do we see the glory of the flame, we may see the flame but do we see the mystery of the unconsumed bush, maybe we even see that the bush is indeed unconsumed but do we still look deeper to hear God speaking to us in that mystery, to learn more of holiness?
We too have the invitation Moses had, an invitation to notice the holy that surrounds us. To notice the bush as it still burns on yet remains unconsumed, an invitation to remove whatever stands in the way of our encounters with God. We too are invited to take off our shoes and walk on holy ground.