Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Every Bush is Burning! WE Just Have To See Them Amidst The Mundainity

I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things after Christmas and New Year. It does seem to be rather hard in New Zealand as in my southern hemisphere Island home, New years and Christmas coincide with the hot weather and summer holidays. Instead of being at the beach, checking out the surf, lying under the Pohutukawa trees, or sitting out the back waiting for a lazy swell I'm sweltering in my office trying to get inspiration and to shake of the malaise of still being rather tired for the previous year.

over the break I've read heaps of cheap throw away, wallow away the hours novels, and also two plough through deep insight, wrestle with books by author Leonard Sweet. I haven't finished either yet and have had to slow down to savour the rich images and almost poetic style and to allow some of the insights and profundity soak through to my Winne The Pooh like grey matter (I am a bear of little brains).

One thing that stuck me a=was in the opening chapter in Sweets book on that much misunderstood word Evangelism. "Every bush is burning", now as a Presbyterian the burning bush has a special place in my world. It and the encounter that Moses had at he bush is central to our denomination, the bush is after all the logo we use. the encounter with God tells us so much that is at the heart of what we believe God is holy, God hears, God knows, God draws near ( exemplified in the incarnation, how near can God get) and that God answers and seek to liberate his people, and that God is sovereign and able to accomplish what God says God will do.

To say every Bush is burning however is to invite people to see what is round them and realise that God is wanting to speak to us through the fauna of our twenty first century environment. Be it the trees round us.

I am writing this while sitting in the Maclaurin Chapel with a great view of a special tree just outside which for the past two years has at so many different times spoken to me of God's grace and purpose.

the middle had been broken out of it when it was small and it has grown out and along the ground rather that up into a big high oak tree. It speaks to me of God ability to make broken things beautiful, beauty for ashes, as a tree it is much loved and is often a place where people sit (up it) chat, laugh , study and pray.

Our van broke down on New Years. A tire rod in the front suspension broke, Scary really, things are always tight and I always find that if something breaks in the van then its going to cost a fortune for someone to just look at it. Amidst the bushes (those rubber things that stop your suspension clunking and grinding) I again experienced God's love and care. The van broke down at a picnic for a group from the church we attend when we are not doing studentsoul or preaching somewhere on Sunday. The person who was right there happened to be a mechanic and very graciously sorted the problem for us at the cost to us of a second hand part. I had of course been doing the old 'where are we going to get money from panic trick' and in the midst of that I had sensed God say 'Trust Me" that’s all very well God I said "I Do, just let me have a bit of a lament like the people in the psalms as well!" Well I again experienced God's grace shown through one of his people.

I could go on and often do, but this year I want to live more and more aware of the God who is near and with us and just burning to speak. To encounter Christ in all the people I meet, in every bush I pass, well the ones that draw me aside, and even in the urban concrete jungle. As i was walking up from the railway station today I caught a glimpse of the harbour through the tall buildings and as is my custom, ritual, habit, spiritual discipline, when I see the sea I say "thank you Lord for your love surrounds us like the sea surrounds our island home". Just possibly I heard God saying, you need to look up and see it more often.

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