Sunday, November 06, 2011
burning bush (Exodus 3 and 4), mission, call, creativity and Advent
I’ve been sitting for the last few months with the call of Moses in Exodus 3 and 4. A few months ago I heard it told well as a children’s story and really hit me. First, mission and the importance of beginning with our ears on. Second, call and what it means for me to respond to God’s call by simply giving my “staff” – my gifts, talents, experiences.
Over the weekend, as a way of trying to dwell further on the text, I googled burning bush icons. (I’m just about to finish an icon (another pioneer Jesus), so I’m beginning to feel my way toward my next icon project.) I could only find about four and one, was most intriguing. It is titled the Theotokos of the Unburnt Bush. (More here)
Mary is surrounded by the flames. She literally sits in the middle of the burning bush, while Jesus sits in the middle of Mary! I like how small Moses is, off and to the side, and the little angels up top, doing their spiritual play!
Textually, much of Jesus in the Gospels, especially in Matthew, is framed as the new Moses, leading a new Exodus. Thus visually, a burning bush icon that references Jesus is very Biblically astute.
What struck me was how visually it connects for me with that superb Advent icon, the Theotokos Orans icon.
So there is something intuitive here for me, about the need to take of shoes for we stand on holy ground, about the mission of Moses as a forerunner of the mission of Jesus, about refinement, about possibilities.
Yes, I think I know what my next icon might be!