The Unwieldy Bush

January 18, 2020

 

It didn’t take long after beginning Beth and David Booram’s book, When Faith Becomes Sight, for my heart to warm and begin to burn in my chest. In the chapter “Shimmering Attractions,” which invites the reader to have eyes to see God’s presence mediated to us through ordinary and extraordinary occurrences in life, I was reminded of those shimmering moments in my own life that warmed my heart and lifted my spirit and senses to something big and near. Something that infused the world with goodness and beauty and presence.

 

In this chapter the Boorams write, “Sometimes these shimmering attractions happen on the road you’ve taken a thousand times or through the window you’ve looked out every morning as you make the coffee. Suddenly, though often subtly, something lifts from the scene before you with inexplicable prominence.” As I read this, I remembered our neighbors’ holly bush that reaches over our fence with unwieldy arms. I dislike that bush for several reasons. Unpruned and unshaped, it appears scraggly and overgrown. And it drops sharp, pointed leaves into our yard that have caused more than one gardening injury.

 

However, as I read, I began to recall an experience I had months ago as I noticed that bush outside our kitchen window. As I rinsed the morning’s dishes in the sink, my eye caught one branch waving in a quiet wind. It’s woody arm, deep green leaves, and cadmium red berries seemed purposeful in their waving. I stood and gazed at them for a moment—not thinking, but noticing. Looking at the waving branch, I began to feel that rising warmth. I began to sense that there was something more to this world. This bush was alive. And God made it. God makes—and keeps—us all. 

 

This quiet, hidden, unwieldy bush became a messenger to me. Nothing created is only itself. Even the trees have a deeper knowing. Their existence was begun by Someone Else. That morning in the kitchen I became a witness of that reality. I joined in the knowing.

 

In their chapter on shimmering attractions, the Boorams go on to retell the story of Moses and the burning bush. I read along, opening my eyes again to this God who comes near, who waves and blazes, who invites us to stop and linger in the mystery of his existence which is both completely beyond us and palpably near.

 

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Our guest blogger this week, Katie Cochran, lives in northern Indiana with her husband, four children, and an old dog. She currently facilitates family life at home, loves her church, participates as a student in the School for Spiritual Direction at Fall Creek Abbey, and practices a bit of freelance writing.

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