Wednesday, September 3, 2014

About the burning bush. And singing harmony


Stephen W and I head to church together. Stephen S soon arrives to get everything set up. Jeremy and I rehearsing. His song. And  Ripple. Last go round on Godwrestling. It is Labor Day weekend, but it's a New York tradition to hold the parade a week later so that workers can, well, have Labor Day off.

One last go round for How firm a foundation. Jeremy speaks to its rootedness.

Our reflection  scripture for today is the story of Moses and the burning bush. (Exodus 3: 1-15).  I start by asking Who remembers Popeye the Sailor? His girlfriend? Olive Oyl. Her family (Otto, Lubrikent and Castor) His enemy: Bluto/Brutus. And of course I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today guy Wimpy. And what did Popeye always say? I yam what I yam and tha’s all what I yam…

So this is God’s Popeye passage..

Setting the scene…Moses is a fugitive…raised in Pharoah’s court, as an Egyptian, he has killed and Egyptian for beating a slave and finds out that there are no secrets…so he’s on the lam. tending to the sheep (Jeremy likes that, lam, sheep…)….he sees a bush that burns but is not consumed…

When I was a kid in Sunday school in the 60s,it was liberal church practice to find natural science explanations for all the miracles, like it was really the reed sea, no the  Red Sea and when the wind…or there are these bushes and when the sun this them in a certain way….well, you know…

But look,  the point is,  it’s a burning  bush…that is not consumed….
Let that be….seek to understand it, not explain it….there’s a metaphor there…
The burning bush has been a popular symbol among Reformed churches since it was first adopted by the Huguenots (French Calvinists) in 1583. That’s how they saw themselves in relation to the Roman Catholic Church..Also the church of Scotland. And the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. They know what  it feels like. Not to mention the logo of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America is also an image of the Burning Bush with the phrase "and the bush was not consumed" in both English and in Hebrew.
What else is important here?
* God calls Moses by name…and Moses answers, Here am I…It’s like Mary thinks the risen Christ is the gardener until Jesus calls her by name…like the homeless people on our steps begin to regain their humanity when we know their names…
* God hears the people’s cry…and answers…by calling Moses.
* Moses is not excited by this idea. Like when in the face of 5000 hungry, excited people, the disciples, down to two loaves and 5 fishes want to send the people away and Jesus says, You feed them…and when they begin, there are leftovers…
* God calls us…by name…can we answer here am I?
* But Moses, like Godwrestling Jacob before him  wants God’s name…To have  someone’s name is to have power
*But all he gets is IAMWHATIAM

So maybe God is not a noun….God is a verb…God is….

The real meaning of that Biblical expression fear of the Lord, is Awe. Our response to God, to God’s presence, to creation is to be AWE.

I’m wondering off a little here, but how many of you have pets? Like when my cat crawls up on my chest, and I feel him breathing and he looks me in the eyes, I feel this sense of connection, of shared being, with creation.

So we listen for our call. Ready to say Here am I….Knowing that no matter what, we will not be consumed. An awesome God goes with us….we are not, will not be alone…

For today’s prayer section, we open with Amazing Grace one last time, this time as Jeremy begins, I slowly move into O Freedom…and we sing them together, something I heard at the Petefest this summer….

The real moment is his song you’re going home. It’s new to me so I have to really concentrate. Allow myself to hear to and feel it, weave my voice with his. The harmonies very close and tight.  And I completely lose myself in the song. It’s that experience Kristen Leigh was talking about. The trembling feeling inside, it takes awhile to go away.

Later I tell Jeremy that I never had any formal training. But that my Dad sang in a quartet that did Gospel for church and barbershop for their other performances. Hearing them rehearse, I heard a lot of harmony. Jeremy says, That is training

I will miss him while he’s on his European tour….   

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