This is known as the burning bush … it is the symbol of the Presbyterian Church in Canada and is a beautiful representation of fall being upon us here in SouthWestern Ontario. Firey red leaves, crimson with colour and stays that way well into the snowy days ahead. I have been watching these bushes of late as they alway remind me of my passion and love for the PCC and my time discerning with them, most ‘specially with the little church in the fields where I served for over two years as their student minister. It is where I did much growing and changing and fighting and struggling. It is where I was tossed into chaos and learned to trust in the now and simply be present to all that is in our day to day lives. It is where I cut my teeth on the ring of personal growth, my own obstinance, arrogance and opinion. The place where the divine forces placed me to simply blossom.
This burning bush today caught my eye as I was walking to an appointment in the cool fall afternoon. Blowing in the breezes and simply glowing with energy. The burning bush, a place of warmth if I am to step up close enough and bask in the glory. This burning bush reminded me of Moses standing on sacred ground asking into the firey throes of energy … “who shall I say sent me?” … “what is your name?” According to Exodus God says, “I AM as I AM”. God is asking Moses to go and bring the people to freedom, lead them out of their peril, show them the way … bring them to the foot of the mountain .. and Moses’ mouth drops open … who ME? Many look into the face of the divine and say “who me?” and wonder can they make a difference in the world. I ask that question every day and am humbled at the chances I am given to grow and learn while standing in front of I AM.
Today I met with a young journalist who is writing a story. We talked for over two hours about religiosity, faithfulness, “God”, doctrines and humanity. We talked about the future, the past, where religions are going, Christianity, Islam, politics and religion and how we both believe love and kindness are the beginning for all relationship and community. As we were sitting in my car finishing up the interview, a young black man stepped up to the passenger side window. I looked past the young woman journalist, past her hijab, through the window. She turned and looked into this young man’s black face. He rapped on the window. I put the window down a few inches and he said, “Are you my UBER driver? I just called an UBER.” I said, “no, I am not on the clock today” and just as that another car like mine, similar in colour with an UBER sticker in the window, like mine, pulled up and the young man ran to the car and got in. I stopped still in my seat. I asked my companion what her thoughts were and we both paused in the moment. I was ashamed …
Why was I ashamed? Because my first initial thought was fear based and immediately raced to a place I am ashamed to admit. So ashamed I am blogging about it so I can call out others who still have bias in their hearts that is so deeply engrained that even though my immediate, second thought was of kindness and openness, my first was out of fear. Why, oh why, I painfully lament to myself did I go there? Would I have felt the same fear if it was a white girl? white boy? black girl? I honestly don’t know. I have no excuse I only have learnings. I did open the window. I did invite his question. We did laugh together when he saw his UBER however I am still ashamed for my immediate reaction. It will be my burning bush moment for a while to come.
Should the divine call me to the precipice and ask me to go and bring the people I would ask forgiveness for this moment before I could ever help anyone else. In this moment of learning I have great compassion for our entrenched bias that is infused so deeply. I learned today to always have empathy, love and compassion for any bias and always leave room for learnings.
I stood at the bush today and gave thanks, thanks for lessons learned every day, all day and every way and all ways … no one is perfect or exempt, that said, the forces that make the beautiful burning bush expects me to be the best, challenge myself, and take these learnings to heart.