Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them.
— Exodus 3:1-9
When the superintendent invites you to a small group, you go, at least you do if you are a young pastor under appointment. As we gathered together the group was beginning to form around spiritual formation and how to develop ourselves as young pastors. In that first session, the question was posed, “how does God best connect with you?” It seems a simple enough question, and yet, somehow it took my breath away. I had never thought of it in those terms. I had always wondered how I best connected with God, what did I need to do to get God’s attention. The idea that God was seeking my attention was somehow startling to me.
If God notices us, if God is seeking our attention, the very least we can do is “turn aside and look at this great sight.” It seems to me that a large part of the season of Lent is simply about turning aside from all the noise of our age, the activity of the day, and considering this great sight: the cross of Jesus Christ.
Richard Foster, in his monumental work, Celebrations of Disciplines, uses the image of a farmer who creates the conditions in which growth can occur. The disciplines of Lent are less about gaining the attention of God than about putting ourselves in the place where God can gain our attention. As you begin this journey, I pray you will create the spaces necessary so that the God who hears our cries can get your attention.
Take Time to Be Holy v. 1
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
abide in him always, and feed on his word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
forgetting in nothing his blessing to seek.
God of all peace, God of all truth, quiet my mind from the rush of daily life, so that I may hear you better. Open my eyes so that I may see your glory which surrounds me. Still my heart so that I may know the tranquility of still waters. Break down my walls so that I may fully come to understand just how deeply I am loved.
Pastor Tom Greener