Do you ever find yourself trying to find space to pray, and before you realize it, your phone is in your hand, or the TV is on, or you’re on social media? We’ve said this before at Reunion, but what if we’re distracting ourselves into spiritual oblivion?
In the book of Exodus, we find this story about Moses, an early leader of the Israelite people. Through some crazy circumstances, he was put in a position of oppressor over his own people. Eventually he had to flee from Egypt, and he finds himself hiding among a group of people called the Midianites.
He’s out in the field one day, watching over his father-in-law’s sheep, when he notices something…
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 wilderness 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.”
It’s not surprising. I think most of us would want to see what was happening here, but as I read this story, I keep coming back to this same thought…what if Moses got a text when he saw this bush? What if he was scrolling Instagram, and never actually noticed the burning bush at all?
I don’t want to sound like a grumpy old man here either. Please don’t hear, “You kids need to get off your phones!” Hear “It breaks my heart to think about the times I’ve distracted myself out of experiencing God’s presence…and I feel like I might not be the only one.”
I mean, this was a monumental spiritual moment for Moses. The story goes on to say,
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,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”
And it’s easy to see this as a great story, because it is…but we can miss the deeper reality of what is happening here. The ground didn’t just become holy. God didn’t just show up when Moses walked over to the bush. God was always there. The bush was always burning. The ground was always holy…Moses just became aware of it.
What if the ground is holy right now…we just aren’t aware of it? And if that’s true…how do we become aware of it?
How do we open ourselves up to seeing what we might have missed before? We pursue the presence of God through prayer. We take time to intentionally look for the presence of God, and then begin to fold those practices into our everyday lives.
Maybe you’re not sure where to start with prayer. Maybe you just need to set aside time to actually step into the practice of prayer. Maybe prayer has become routine or ritualistic, and you need something new to breathe life into your prayer life. Whatever it may be, my hope is that the prayer experience can become that for you.
Over the next few months we are going to create monthly opportunities to create rhythms of prayer together and alone.
The prayer experiences will be 1.5 hours long. The first 30 mins will be guided by a leader and will involve instruction and time of praying together with others. The next 30 mins will be a curriculum guided opportunity for you to pray on your own. We’ll wrap up our time by coming back together to debrief and share. (for a sneak peak of the guided curriculum, click the link below)
These will be in-person, socially distanced, outdoor gatherings. Masks are required and we will adhere to all CDC and local governmental guidelines.
If you’re interested in signing up for our next prayer experience on September 26th at 10:00AM, you can text prayerSOM (if you’re part of the Somerville community), prayerSE (if you’re part of the South End community), or prayerQ (if you’re part of the Quincy community).
Signing up will allow us to know how many people to expect (so we can maintain CDC guidelines and make sure we allow for social distancing) and make sure we can contact you if anything changes (like weather forcing us to cancel) and you can contact your leader if something happens the day of the experience (like your car not starting).
My hope is that this experience opens our eyes to the importance of sitting in the presence of Christ, it allows us to begin practice of stepping away from our distractions, it helps us commune with Christ, experience Christ, and gives us a way to share our feelings, emotions, and experiences with Christ.
Somerville Location Pastor