The verdant heat of summer is my favorite season, but I am learning to love the fall. Everywhere I look, I am arrested by lively colors: luscious yellows, warm oranges, and especially the vibrant hues of red:
I titled this post “Every Bush Is a Burning Bush” as an allusion to the story in Exodus 3 of Moses hearing God speaking to him out of a burning bush. But we miss at least half of the picture if we read the Bible as only about ‘miraculous’ events that happened thousands of years ago.
In contrast, each autumn, I am more convinced that “Every bush is a burning bush.” God is in, with, and beyond all things, a perspective known as panentheism. And God is always speaking to us if we will slow down enough to listen:
Elizabeth Barrett Browning beautifully writes about this insight in the “Seventh Book” of her epic poem Aurora Leigh (1856):
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware….
If you had the time to read this post, perhaps you will also give yourself permission to take a break from whatever else you could be doing at the moment. Pause. Slow down. Take a three deep breaths.
Consider taking a slow, leisurely walk (even if only around the block). Savor all that you feel, hear, see, taste, and touch.
Allow your “mind to descend into your heart.” Listen for how God may be speaking to you in this season of your life.
As you walk, you may even want to take off your shoes because no matter where you are, “the place on which you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).
For Further Study
- “mind to descend into your heart” — see Philokalia: The Eastern Christian Spiritual Texts (SkyLight Illuminations).
- Carl Gregg, “Everything Is Holy Now” (Sept 6, 2011). Available at http://broadviewchurch.net/2011/09/new-sermon-everything-is-holy-now/.
The Rev. Carl Gregg is a trained spiritual director, a D.Min. candidate, and the pastor of Broadview Church in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland. Follow him on Facebook (facebook.com/carlgregg) and Twitter (@carlgregg).