by Mary McEntee McGill
Today’s prayer will focus on Moses’ discovery of a bush that is burning—a bush that burns but is not consumed by the fire (see the First Reading for the Third Sunday of Lent, Exodus 3:1-8). It would be nice to have a “burning bush” on your table. Here are two ideas for you to consider.
Place twigs and/or dried leaves in a large bowl. In the center of the bowl, place a large candle. Have that candle burning when your group gathers for prayer.
Or, for safety purposes, avoid using a real flame and place a small shrub in a shallow bowl or vase. Cut “burning” leaves from red, orange, and yellow construction paper [CLICK HERE for leaf pattern], and tape these to the branches of the shrub.
Place the “burning bush” on your prayer table, along with a Bible open to Exodus 3.
Leader: Our Sunday readings for the Third Sunday of Lent include a story of Moses and the burning bush.
Reader: Exodus 3:1-8.
Leader: Have you ever stood on holy ground? Is that impossible? (Allow time for silent reflection.)
God is with us today as he was present to people in biblical times. There are times when we feel that things are different, set apart from that which is familiar; we feel like where we are or what we are doing is unique, special, even holy. (Share Mary McGill’s story below.)
Story: I remember one Sunday at Mass, at the Sign of Peace, when I heard the clunking of small shoes coming down the pew where my husband and I stood. Approaching us was a child—the two-year-old son of friends who were sitting at the other end of the pew. When the child caught up with us, he took my hand, pulled me down, and kissed me saying quite boldly. “Peace!” The child then turned and clunked his way back to his family. Perhaps I should have taken my shoes off because surely I stood on holy ground in that joyful and holy “peace” from a child.
Leader Reflection: Holy times come to us often—we just need to remain alert for them. Because holy times are not limited to the formal order of Mass or worship, we can fail to recognize them.
Prayerfully bring to mind a time when you were aware of God’s presence. It might not have been a burning bush—literally—but it may have been just as powerful: something you read; small buds beginning to form on bare trees in late winter or early spring; the beauty and innocence of a baby; the silence of a forest at sunset. A burning bush can appear at home, at work, at church, at the mall. You can be alone or with a large crowd. It can be at a time of great joy or at a time of great need and deep prayer.
(Allow time for silent reflection.)
Can you share a time where you felt like taking off your shoes because you knew God was present?
(As Leader, you should have a personal story to share as well. If a member of the group does not begin the sharing, you can begin it with your own story.)
Closing: As we remain alert for our own burning bushes, let us bear in mind what Elizabeth Barrett Browning shares about the nearness of God:
“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.”
Watch for the fire, for the burning bush. It is near!
Mary has professionally served parishes and dioceses for more than 40 years and continues to enjoy catechetics in Dallas, TX. She is the author of Stories to Invite Faith Sharing (Resource Publications).
Copyright 2013, Bayard, Inc. All rights reserved. This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be reproduced, rewritten, distributed, redisseminated, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast, directly or indirectly, in any medium without the prior written permission of Bayard, Inc.
This article was written by the Catechist Staff and appeared in Catechist magazine, June 2013.
Image Credit: Mieszko9/Shutter Stock 603088592