A special friend wrote to me very movingly a few days ago about a process of “packing and purging” currently going on in her life. These are the “fire” moments in all our lives aren’t they? – the searing moments – and we’re none of us overly keen to think about them too much, though, deep down, we have memories of many a fiery occasion that turned out to be a quite out-of-the-ordinary grace. We absolutely can’t help but ask “Why?” – and we’ve all said heaven-only-knows-how-many-times: “I don’t ask for it. It just happens …”
Anyway, all my musing and pondering about purging, and searing, and life’s moving we-know-not-quite-where, reminded me of a Psalm Down-Under written, rather hopefully, by someone called Joy! –
The Burning Bush
I am a very small tree in a desert
and I am touched by the breath of God.
I don’t ask for it. It just happens,
a suddenness inside me and then a presence
of wind and flame, burning, burning,
and I cover my eyes with my fears,
knowing that I am too small and too frail
to bear this firestorm of love.
I cry out, ‘God, God, what are you doing?
I have always needed your Sunday warmth
but I can’t cope with this searing
which feels like both heaven and hell.
You leave no part of me untouched.
That’s not what I planned.
Please go away!’
There is no answer in the wind and flower,
but little by little, the blindness of my fear
is dissolved and I see with clear eyes
that the desert round me is no longer a desert.
It has been lit by the strong flame of love,
every bush, every tree transformed beyond itself.
I am not alone in this. I never was.
Every living thing has been summoned
to be on fire with the love of God
and to turn all barren places
into sacred ground.