Monday, January 2, 2017

The Burning Man

So I'm attempting to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church again. With all the obligations of the holidays, I found myself a little behind & decided to try & catch up now that I have some downtime.

I'm up to Chapter One (I believe in God the Father) of Section Two: (The Profession of the Christian Faith: The Creeds).  The 1st point explores what it means to believe in one God. The 2nd point talks about how God reveals Himself.

CCC205 in particular looks at the incident with Moses & the burning bush.
And this is where I saw something I'd never seen before.

God called to Moses from a burning bush that remained intact even though it was fully ablaze. When I considered this in the context of how God reveals Himself to man, I couldn't help but think of Jesus.
I've always heard that Moses is a figure of Christ, but what if (like so many other symbols in the Old Testament) the burning bush is also symbolic of Jesus?

In Jesus' day, He was nothing more than a scraggly bush in a world of "trees". He had followers, but many others thought He was possessed, crazy, a drunkard or a criminal. His immediate sphere of influence was limited to a very small geographical area. The names of conquerors & ancient kings were more well known than His own. It wasn't until His disciples were dispersed by persecution & preached the Gospel to the nations that His fame spread to the ends of the earth. But not many people would have thought to consider Him anything special when He was here. As far as they were concerned, He wasn't worth taking off their sandals and falling on their faces for. I might have felt the same way had I lived back then.

Jesus is fully human, fully Divine. He is the Word of God, an expression of God given to us in the form of man, and yet He is not just a man, but God's own Son. Based on these statements & a few scriptures in the Gospels, Christians affirm that Jesus (the "God-man") was tempted but never sinned... Or perhaps we could say He burned but was not consumed. If Jesus is God's revelation to us, what might God be trying to say through this "burning man"?

Jesus told us He spoke nothing except what He heard the Father telling Him to speak (John 12:49). And when we read in John that Jesus said " I AM the Bread of Life, I AM the Light of the world, I AM the Door of the sheep, I AM the Good Shepherd, I AM the Resurrection & the Life, I AM the Way, the Truth & the Life, I AM the True Vine", it's important to remember that these are things God the Father wanted us to know.

If the message to Moses was "I AM Who I AM", what's the message to us through Jesus? It's that God made a Way for us to partake in fellowship with Him, to see Him in the midst of this dark world, to enter into safety, to be taken care of, to cast off darkness & be raised to new life, to move forward, to know His love for us, to be fully alive in Him & sustained in that life, through Jesus. 

If God really never changes & if Jesus is the same yesterday today & forever, then the message of the Burning Man & the message of the burning bush are one in the same: "I AM Who I AM".

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