Preparing the Heart: Ignite the Burning Bush


Then the Lord said to him, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
Exodus 3:5

When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
Exodus 20: 18-19


It is difficult to undo our own damage, and to recall to our presence that which we have asked to leave. It is hard to desecrate a grove and change your mind. The very holy mountains are keeping mum. We doused the burning bush and cannot rekindle it; we are lighting matches in vain under every green tree. Did the wind use to cry and the hills sing forth praise?
~Annie Dillard from Teaching a Stone to Talk


We have pushed God away, not wanting to see His fire, nor smell the smoke of His burning branches, nor feel the singe of our own eyelashes by His heat. In our fear and discomfort, we fail to listen to His voice coming from the fire. So we try to douse it by quenching our longing for Him.  We fear submitting to Him when we may be burned to a crisp.

Yet we live empty lives without Him. We cannot relight the smoldering bush ourselves; it is rekindled only by His ignition through His incarnation — God With Us invites us back to His mountain to remove our shoes on Holy Ground and face Him, trembling.

He asks that our feet and hearts be naked and vulnerable.

Only then can we can hear the wind cry and the hills sing forth praise — the  voice of God Himself is heard in the cry of an Infant.



2 thoughts on “Preparing the Heart: Ignite the Burning Bush

  1. Oh, yes, Emily, we HAVE pushed God away – individually, as a nation, and sometimes, regrettably in some instances, in our ‘faith’ communities. And what a loss, what a price we will pay eventually. Because our God is just and righteous. Just as Isaiah and other prophets admonished the people for their apostasy and refusal to turn to Him, and to accept His Covenant precepts, they continued to drown out the voices of their suffering brothers and sisters. Other suffering voices cry out to us today, still seeking basic human rights. But we shut them out because of what they may demand of us – emotionally, socially, and economically. As a society, we turn instead to the empty promises of corrupt politicians, the contrived output of the media that continues to saturate our waking hours with lies, distortions and escapism via amoral ‘celebrity gods’ for us to emulate and worship….

    You are so correct, Emily. The ONLY way that we can meet Him on Holy Ground is with feet and hearts that are naked and vulnerable —
    and I would add, with hands outstretched, palms up, waiting….for what only He can give us….


  2. These photos and your words are unbelievably beautiful and powerful. Thank you for adding to my life every single day as I open up your post. This one cannot pass without a comment. Thank you.


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