On our moss, weed and dirt front lawn there is one thing that grows. The burning bush plant that is in the centre of our lawn is not indigenous to the area as far as I know. It is one of the few things we allowed my brother to plant on our property. But we all liked it in this house and looking at it in the summer brings us all joy. The colours are arresting and the size and shape fit the size of our lawn. As I have written before calling this a lawn is an over-sell, it resembles more the surface of the moon, or at least the photos I have seen from spacecraft. Picture the craters and barren wasteland you see on those photos of the moon and add moss, weeds and dirt and you have it, our lawn. But the burning bush off sets this, brings some needs colour and most importantly, it brings life!
I think we all need to see and feel signs of life. Every day there needs to be signs of life, in my Christian context I would say we all need signs of resurrection. I remember two women whom I knew well ten years ago, they believed God gave them a mission to bring the men and women from the inner city of Halifax out to the lush greenery of Tantallon once a week. We organized drives and meals and made it happen. The women called it “the Freedom Renewal Centre” and that is exactly what happened, the women and men who came there felt liberated from the concrete, graffiti and urban decay that was all around them, day after day, and instead walked the St. Margaret’s Bay Rails to Trails, sat on my benches outside the church overlooked a recently cleaned up swamp to meditate and pray and enjoyed a hearty home cooked meal by locals from the church. To cap it off the locals who made the meal and the women and men who came as guests became a community and the meal itself was a celebration of possibility much as it was for the early church in Jesus’ name.
We all need beauty in our lives. I realize now THAT is why I always comment to people when I visit their homes (much to my wife’s lament) if there aren’t many pictures hanging on walls. How terrible that I do that! But it is an instinct borne of an assumption that we all need beauty and art and photographs are two ways, inside our dwellings, to make the beauty a constant.
This morning when I poured myself a coffee I looked outside our front window and saw the burning bush. It is now a light coloured green but even in this incarnation it is beautiful and I can think of nothing but growth and possibility. In time the bright shade of reds and orange will carry with them the transforming qualities to change my day in the instant I look at them on a warm summer day. The burning bush is a reminder of what nature, God’s creation, can do, has done, will do.
Is there a plant or bush or tree in your surroundings that makes you feel whole? At Brunswick Street United on Sunday nights the members of our church family live inside apartments and thus the places they find inspiring are often public spaces like the Public Gardens or the tree across the street with birds living in nests at its highest point. They share the feeling of walking outside their dwelling and seeing the grand theatre that is Creation and what these sights and smells do for them, do to them. To take these experiences for granted is to miss out on what nurture God has provided, to miss the blessing of the day. I thank God for the burning bush.