Readings & Semon: No Graphics or Music
Moses and the Burning Bush
1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up."
4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!"
And Moses said, "Here I am."
5 "Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." 6 Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
6845. 'For the place which you are standing on is holy ground' means that otherwise the Divine cannot come in. This is clear from the meaning of 'place' as a state, ... and therefore 'the place which you are standing on' is the state in which he is up to this point; and from the meaning of 'holy ground' as the holiness which goes forth from the Lord. Thus a state of the holy influence from the Lord's Divine Human is what these words are used to mean. This meaning - that otherwise the Divine cannot come in - follows from what is said immediately before, namely that if a person were not removed from the powers of the senses, which form the external levels of the natural, that is, if he were not raised from them to more internal levels, the Divine could not flow in. The reason why the Divine cannot flow in as long as the person's thought remains on the level of the senses is that influx from the Divine extends right through to things that are last in order, thus right through to the powers of the senses which form the external levels of a person's natural. If those levels consist solely of bodily and earthly interests the Divine influences coming in are reduced to nothing since they are incompatible with what is there. Consequently when a person is about to receive the Divine, that is, matters of faith and love, he is raised from the powers of the senses; and once he has been raised from them, the Divine no longer flows in there, into the external level of the senses, but into the more internal level to which the person has been raised. I have been allowed to know from a considerable amount of experience that this is so. AC
God said to Moses, "Take off your shoes; you're standing on holy ground." I once thought that the holy ground was the area around the burning bush, because God was present in the bush. But I now know from Swedenborg that God is present everywhere and is in everything. We cannot stand anywhere on the earth without being on holy ground. Swedenborg tells us that the meaning of “take off your shoes; you’re standing on holy ground’ is that Divine influx flows into everything in the universe, and we must be open to receiving God’s flow ourselves so that it can flow through us and on to other parts of creation. We can be vessels for the flow, or we can be blocks for it.
“Everything in the created universe is a vessel for the divine love and wisdom of the Divine-Human One. We acknowledge that everything in the universe, great and small, has been created by God.” Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom, #55
“Divinity is the same in the largest and smallest of things.” Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom, #77
“The inner person is a miniature heaven and the outer person a miniature world – a microcosm.” Swedenborg, Heavenly Secrets, #6057
Rev. Dr. George Dole has pointed out that when the whole is in each part, then we have a hologram, and that has profound implications for how we live upon the earth. Rev. Dole wrote, “If I am a microcosm of the whole, this has consequences for my entire concept of the self-other relationship. The only ‘you’ I know is the ‘you’ within my consciousness. I do indeed love my neighbor as I love myself, and vice versa, because my neighbor participates in my being.”
He also adds that “every polarity that exists in the world exists within me.” He therefore comes to an astounding realization: “In the holographic model, doing [anything] on the personal scale and doing it on the global scale are inseparable.”
This is true not just of how we treat each other, but how we treat our world. To pollute the earth is to pollute God and our neighbor. To honor the earth honors God and neighbor.
We can honor the earth through our Swedenborgian tradition by recognizing that everything in nature contains the Divine. Artists often look at the world through eyes that perceive the Divine reflected in all things. I find that true of the paintings of artist, Robert Bush. If you wish, take a minute to look at the incredible beauty of these paintings and see if they help you to recognize the Divine in nature.
We must start anew as a people upon the earth. We are the stewards of the Lord's creation. We can participate fully in the Divine flow, or we can be blockages in its way.
I'm very moved by the song "Feeling Good." Instead of using our human words to explain the 'feelings' of animals and nature, this song takes us directly to nature for an understanding of our feelings. Have you ever felt that the birds flying high or the sun in the sky knew how you feel?
I love the hopefulness in the song. It is a new day for all of us on this earth, as we find new ways to honor God, through honoring God's creation.
Dear Lord of Divine creation, we honor your presence in every part of our world. Help us to recognize you in the faces of the poor and hungry; in our polluted earth crying for help. Let us recognize you within our very being, and use our hands and feet to make you visible to others.
May you live this day in awareness of being a part of the vast web of creation, and honor the created universe that lives in your heart.