Several ideas and experiences have come together today, and I’m unlikely to be able to articulate them clearly. Please don’t feel you have to understand, as the picture is much bigger than I can write about.
Life ‘in vacancy’ goes on at St. Peter’s (advert due out end of the month!). We have a little Flower Festival this weekend. This accompanies the Garden Society Produce Show, which will take place in Church tomorrow. Great chances to have the community visit the church. My limited flower arranging skills were forced to lay largely dormant during Reader Training, but I agreed to go back on the rota as I find the past-time relaxing: it so happened my week on the rota clashed with the Flower Festival and thus, today I was creating a Burning Bush!
I spent some time reading Exodus 3 and 4 in preparation for the flower arrangement, but whilst also working towards carrying out one of those God-prompted actions that one doesn’t wholly understand when starting out on it. It struck me that initially Moses responds to God cheerfully “I’m here” (Exodus 3:4) but when he finds out what God REALLY wants, Moses allows fear to speak: “Please, get someone else to do your work!” (Exodus 4:13) However, God doesn’t really give him a choice… he gives Moses some help (the promise of his guidance, some miraculous signs and Aaron to do his talking) but basically tells him to ‘go and get on with it’!
And yet to fear is human, as Jan Lemen has highlighted in her blog (HT Maggie Dawn). This is my first introduction to Jan’s writings, but I find it most helpful – reassuring to be told what you experience as true, and to realise that the fear itself might be telling me something: “more often then not, the truth… reveals a daring path forward.”
But there was of course a woman, who despite her fear consented to an angel with great courage: and Mary was waiting for me in Bishop Alan’s blog. This was the bit that got me most:
Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?
Some unwillingly undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride, uncomprehending.
More often those moments
when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from in dread,
in a wave of weakness,
in despair and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.
If we turn away from the fear, the gate may close. God will still be there for us because his love is endless even if ours is not. But our walk with him may be less rich, the road more dark than light, and probably far less interesting.
So, with fear, a burning bush, and the woman who consented all speaking loud and clear, adding to a clamour of more earthly voices, I might yet say “Here I am” and start another adventure with God! Will you?