One of my good friends, and sometimes commenter on this blog, has loaned me an excellent CD set on the Old Testament by Amy-Jill Levine. It is really terrific, even if I crave driving to listen to more of it! Dr. Levine’s lectures have given me new insights on several passages I’ve heard my entire life.
In the episode of the burning bush, I’ve always identified with Moses. After all, he was hearing God’s call to mission. However, after hearing the lecture on this particular episode, I’ve decided those of us who are pastors might better relate to the bush itself.
Let’s be honest, desert shrubs aren’t anything spectacular. They’re kinda dry, they sit there, and they do whatever they can to soak up nutrients from the sun-parched soil. Set ablaze by God’s divine fire, however, they become something important – something worthy of our attention. Aflame, yet not consumed. Burning alive. How’s that for a image of ministry? I think Wesley would like it. Remember this, “Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.”
Far too often we’re dry shrubs, failing to realize our call to be burning bushes while living hand-to-mouth searching for the stuff of life. What would it take for us to be transformed, catching the attention of would-be Moseses (Mosi?) in our community?
What does God’s fire do to the bush, ever-aflame, but not consumed? I can’t imagine this is comfortable or comforting to the bush itself, even though it isn’t consumed. Is it like Jeremiah who writes, “If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,” then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot (20:9).”?
What sets you on fire? What is in you like a burning fire in your bones? What would it take for you to share that with God’s people?
6 thoughts on “Blazing Pulpits”
I had a thought that might be a related to this while watching the movie Amazing Grace the other day.
Wilberforce was the hero of the movie, but it was the minister who brought him the word of God that set him on his crusade to end slavery. The minister did not fight the political fight. He summoned this Moses to confront the pharaoh of his day.
The question is, though, what kind of shrub are you?
Thanks for the insight. I never even gave the bush a second thought before I read your post.
Great insight. I hadn’t thought about it from the bush’s perspective. Still, I think I identify with Moses, who named everything that’s wrong with him and asked God to send someone else!
This is a great image to reflect on my ministry. Thank you for this.