Sermon Details

Every Bush Is Burning

August 30, 2020
Wabash Avenue Presbyterian Church in Crawfordsville, Indiana invites you to join us for our virtual worship service on Sunday, August 30, 2020. The Scripture Reading is Exodus 3:1-5 . Rev. John Van Nuys' sermon is "Every Bush Is Burning". Jennie Fights Swick sings, "Here in This Place" and "Open My Eyes, That I May See". Alan White plays the piano for the Postlude.
(1) 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. (2) 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. (3) Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” (4) 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.” (5) Then God said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
– Exodus 3:1-5

Here’s a dumb question, but also a good question: Do Hawaiians know that they’re living in Hawaii? That’s a dumb question because, of course, Hawaiians know they’re living in Hawaii. And that’s a good question because it’s very difficult to be fully mindful of the present moment. Do Hawaiians know – are they fully mindful, awake, and aware – in each and every moment that they are living in paradise?

Since they’re like us, most likely they don’t. Like us, they’re busy doing things they have to do to live. Most of us most of the time are focused on our to-do lists, pressured by daily demands, preoccupied with worries, and over-stimulated by the data stream from all our devices. And so, most of us don’t realize that every bush is burning. We don’t live the wonderful truth that every moment is a moment in which God loves us and is present to us. Sure, Moses saw that one bush that caught his eye; but, if we have eyes to see, we can behold the truth that every bush is burning. Every moment is a holy moment in which God is here.
Some things are so big that they are hard to see. Think about Egypt: a nation that has existed for millennia. Egypt’s entire existence is due to the Nile River: No Nile – no Egypt. Without the Nile River and its annual flood there is no fertile soil along its banks; no agriculture; no people; nothing. Egypt is — all because of the Nile. Its presence is so big that it’s easy to forget – just like God.

We think God is “up there” and we are “down here.” Heaven is holy. Here is ordinary. But I think the poet Wendell Berry is right: “There are no ordinary places. There are only sacred places and desecrated places.” We desecrate places by treating them like they are ordinary. If we follow the Bible’s lead, which tells us that God created this world as a paradise, then you realize that where you are right now is sacred space. It’s not ordinary. It’s filled with God’s love. Just like you. God is here – in this moment – loving you. Every moment is a heavenly moment – the heavenly moment. That moment that Moses had truly is the moment you are having right now. So, get those shoes off! You’re on holy ground.

Like Moses, we don’t feel worthy. But worth has nothing to do with it. God’s love makes us worthy. God just loves you. Always has; always will. All we have to do is open our hearts and our eyes and our lives to receive that grace and share that gift.

Taking a meal to a grieving family; volunteering to help your community; standing up for someone who is being beaten down; forgiving someone who has hurt you; giving generously to bless others; treating others the way we would like to be treated – these are the ordinary, extraordinary, holy ways and heavenly moments in which we, like that bush, are burning – shining brightly with the light of heaven and the warmth of God’s transforming, healing love.

The person who did this the best was Jesus. In all his moments, he was alive in God. In all his deeds, God was alive in him. This ordinary carpenter from Galilee invites us to walk in his extraordinary way so we can become who God created us to be; so we can be truly alive.

Why wait until you get to heaven to have eternal life? Why not live that best, blessed life right now? By grace – by God’s sheer gift – you can. Yes, you will still have difficulties and trials, which come to us all. But during those hardships, you’ll never be alone. You’ll discover yourself connected to a Love that will not let you go; one that will accompany you and carry you through the darkness of your Good Friday into the dawning of God’s Easter light.

To trust that is faith. To follow Christ’s way of love is life. To say yes to God in this moment is salvation. Every bush is burning. Every moment, every place, every heart. This moment. This place. Your life – as you are now. Turn and see and live.

In reading this, your heart may be stirred. What you’re feeling is the Holy Spirit drawing you to Christ. To begin or renew a relationship with Jesus, just pray:

“Lord, help me receive your love. I regret the wrong I’ve done. Forgive me. Jesus, I believe you are God’s Son and the Savior of the world. Be my Savior. Save me from myself. Save me for yourself. Enter my heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to serve you faithfully and well. Help me to love as you love. Lead me in your Way, Truth, and Life now and forever. Continue to show me who you are and who I am in you. Amen.”

If you pray this prayer, contact a pastor. They’ll show you how to live for Christ with purpose, peace, and joy. Jesus says: “Behold, I make all things new.” That definitely includes YOU!