Untying My Shoes and Completely Derailing

In recent months (wait, maybe years?), I have really been recognizing that energy that moves me sometimes to action, tears, compassion, awareness, etc.

I have been identifying that energy as the Holy Spirit at work in my life through a variety of agents; most often, it has been music, spoken word, and people in my own life.

I have been asking, Veni Sancte Spiritus— Come, Holy Spirit. Work in me, work with me, work through me and the people I’m surrounded by.

As I read a text for one of my classes at Luther Seminary, entitled “Getting Involved With God: Rediscovering the Old Testament”, I was particularly intrigued by the following passage by Dr. Ellen F. Davis, Associate Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School. She points out, through a wonderful reading of Exodus 3, that the people God is drawn to (Moses, and later Mary) have the capacity to be derailed for the sake of the things of God. Additionally, God is revealed as a deity who jumps the track, and who gets derailed for the sake of the things of humanity. The God of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam is a God that comes down, all the way down to the ground. God comes all the way to our ‘hoods to bring us along to a land of promise.

“If this is a true reading of the third chapter of Exodus, then Gregory of Nyssa rightly saw that the burning bush and the God-bearing body of Mary are ultimately one revelation of Mary as the Burning BushGod, separated only in time. For the gospel affirms that in the fullness of time, the God of Israel, once again moved beyond all reason by love and by pain, came down to deliver not Israel only, but the whole world. The flame that burned in the bush at Sinai is the same light to which Mary gave birth. It burns yet and, for all our darkness, is not extinguished. […] Come then, ‘take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing, it’s holy ground’.”

The idea that God forgets about whatever was on the agenda to come hang out and do work due to compassion, love and pain is a particularly beautiful one to me. And that’s just the dwelling part. God grabs us– sometimes quite violently– whether we like it or not, and we get to work. The cost of recognizing this kind of love is significant; getting involved with God indeed is costly. Intimacy is sometimes self-revealing and downright scary. But to live– and I mean truly live— don’t we have to find ourselves in intimate relationships? There’s a whole lot of shit to deal with when we encounter and enter into intimacy with both other humans and with God. We end up being moved by compassion, by love, and by pain. We end up like a locomotive that has derailed, and will never get back on the same tracks. We realize that the bush is still burning. If that’s not exciting and terrifying, I don’t know what is.

Veni, Sancte Spiritus. C’mon, God… grab our hands. Let’s get moving.


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