Reverence and Intimacy: The Burning Bush – Sermon for the Third Sunday in Lent – March 3, 2013
Fr. Funston’s sermon for the Third Sunday of Lent, March 3, 2013, is now available on-line:
There is a tension at work in this story: God commands Moses to keep his distance as a matter of reverence and respect, but also to do this thing which fosters personal vulnerability and intimacy. Moses is told not to come any closer to the bush, but simultaneously to remove his sandals and touch the holy ground with the bare skin of his feet. Detachment and familiarity are held in tension; Moses’ bare feet signify both reverence and intimacy. This is the very nature of God. The German theologian Rudolph Otto coined the term numinous to describe God and he defined it in the Latin phrase mysterium tremendum et fascinans – the mystery which terrifies and fascinates, before which we are in reverent awe and yet to which we are deeply attracted. Could there be a better description of the burning bush from which Moses is to keep his distance and yet approach intimately?