Burning bush

         The bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed.
Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight,
         and see why the bush is not burned up.”
                  —Exodus 3.2

It is possible to see the wonder and not turn aside,
both the bush and the flame enduring,
beauty and pain together,
divine glory and suffering,
the young man shot, the girl deported,
the flooded victims, the poor beset again,
a cross, burning but not consumed.
It is possible to see yet go on as you were.

What awakens you—
the bush, the flame, or its persistence,
the splendor, the grief or their marriage—
is enough.
It is not for your faith or inspiration.
No, not for you at all.
There is work to do and your help is needed:
to set people free,
to abandon your placid security,
let the bush burn in your eyes and heart
until you stand before Pharaoh with the hard news.
Wonder and anguish will haunt you,
justice and hope enflame you.
You yourself will blaze, and yet not be consumed.

Still, it is possible
to see the wonder and not turn aside.


    —September 1, 2017

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