“ The Lord spoke to you out of the fire, you heard the sound of his voice, but you saw no form,” Deuteronomy 4:12
Icons of the Burning Bush are most common to the monastery of St Catherine’s in Egypt. In the mountains of Sinai, Moses stood before the burning bush and spoke to God on Holy Ground, the monastery is located in the valley below those mountains. This image becomes the link between the Jewish tradition and the new Christian. Mary is substituted for the bush and
Christ is the voice of God within.
She represents the divine vessel of burning love, Humankind cannot know God without a burning Love for Creation.
The ever-repeating, never-ending holy interaction between God and creation is the story humanity has been murmuring around the world since the time humans could communicate. Stories of the journey to hear God are repeated across countless generations, in every culture. Humans look for the divine, searching for a reason they can understand for their own existence.
This icon is a snapshot from the story of God’s love affair with creation and our sense of abandonment by the divine we recognize. Moses on Holy Ground is a story of a frustrated young man who searches. The way of his holy interaction with God is a beginning not an end, and even today it is an invitation to come close, to see and hear who this God is we want to know.
“in former times when Moses asked to see God, he was only able to contemplate God obscurely, seeing his back and covering his face: but for the new Israel, we saw our deliverer, clearly face to face”. God continually reveals himself and who he is, while our response is to interpret who we think he is. Humans gradually change their portrait of God. Unlike Moses, when the icon of the face of Christ is created, it not only show us God’s face, it alludes to the idea, His image is like us!
The invisible God clothed himself in flesh and became visible, first in the burning bush, and later as Mary the unquenchable fire of love. Today we see and know God in Christ and he walks among us. It seems logical to me we are
coming into an era when we will see Christ in ourselves and each other. The invisible God clothed himself in flesh and became visible, it was then we came to represent the likeness of Him in Image. We will one day behold with unveiled faces, ourselves as a mirror of the Lord, being transformed from Lord to Spirit.
I do not worship matter
“I do not worship matter; I worship the Creator of matter who became matter for my sake, who willed to take His abode in matter; who worked out my salvation through matter. Never will I cease honoring the matter which wrought my salvation. I honor it, but not as God.” St John of Damascus, “On the Holy Icons”, i.16
What is the Promised Land? Was it where Moses stood on Holy Ground? Or to be in the promised land standing on Holy Ground? It is nothing less than becoming gods by grace, to be united to our Creator in a union of love, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to be radiant with His glory dwelling within us. We will be fully human having God as our head and Christ in our heart…………………… or something like that.