Friday, March 09, 2007

Turn Aside To See

This is for those courageous inquirers who are willing to "turn aside to see." The theme is taken from the encounter of Moses (Exodus, chapter 3) with the God who dwelled and called "out of the midst of the bush." That the bush is a lowly and common shrub at the "backside of the desert" attests to the humility of God, who waits there. It speaks also of its human undesirability by men who would think to find Him in more appropriate and convenient places. That the bush is burning, but "not consumed" is suggestive of the perpetuation of Israel despite its historic sufferings It also speaks of the unanswered issues of that nation's history and particularly of its unrecognized past and yet future judgments.
Fire is, after all, a fearful phenomenon. Why peer into that which continues to burn? Rabbinical commentary has it that anyone who is willing has no assurance that a turning back to past and comfortable categories of what one knew or understood before might be possible. It is supreme risk, but also supreme portent. That Moses turned, released God's call and initiated Israel's deliverance. Will it be so again, as this age concludes?


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