I remember a few years back, there was a significant movement which advocated that if you wanted your plants to grow better you should talk to them.
The herbal gardening society believes that it works, so too does the Royal Horticultural society even Mythbusters in one of their experiments classed the myth as plausible though in a paper by the Professor of Horticulture at Pennsylvania State University the conclusion was more guarded and suggested there isn’t a lot of research that proves any positive effect of talking to plants
So I don’t know if us talking to plants really has an effect or not. But today’s Bible reading certainly suggests that plants talking to us has an effect!
When Moses is going about his everyday business of minding sheep something caught his eye. He noticed something.
And it is the noticing of something that makes all the difference in the story.
Firstly – God has noticed something and has taken the initiative about it:
I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them
And secondly Moses has noticed something and is ready to respond to it Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up Two simple things – God notices, and Moses notices
William H. Willimon, an Episcolpalian bishop in the USA tells a great story:
I think of a woman who was my lay leader in North Myrtle Beach. Her methods were unorthodox, her theology was never apparent, her language was often sprinkled with words not often heard in church. But she knew about the world. She also had gotten the idea that God expected her to be busy in the world in his behalf.
One day she was cruising down Ocean Boulevard when a local policeman stopped the car of a youth in front of her. She had seen this tactic before. She knew that the city supported itself, in great part, on the fines of youthful tourists whom the police preyed upon to enrich the city coffers. She stopped her car behind that of the policeman. “Can I help you, Miss Peggy?”, asked the offer as he stepped from his car. “Yes. Why did you stop that boy’s car?” she asked. “I stopped him because he was speeding,” he replied. “It’s really none of your business.” “Well, I’m making it my business,” she snapped. “I am sick and tired of you people busting these kids for minor violations. If he was speeding, I was speeding. I was going the same speed as he was. You stopped him because he has long hair and an license plate from another state.”
By this time the boy was out of his car with a confused look on his face. His presence exasperated the patrolman who was now shouting at Peggy. “Look, you had better stay out of this. This is none of your concern. I’m pulling this kid for a traffic violation and this is none of your business.”
Peggy was undeterred. “I told you it is my business. It’s not right and you know it. Let’s just go down to the station and talk this over…”
“What’s the trouble, officer?” the bewildered youth asked. The policeman did not answer. He jumped into his patrol car, slammed the door while muttering something about “smart mouth women,” and squealed off in anger. “Son, be careful. Slow down and be careful,” Peggy said as she started her car and drove on.
It’s about paying attention to what is going on!
But even though Moses paid attention, it’s certainly not the end of the story How many people here are dancers? Waltz? Foxtrot? Jive? Disco? Ceroc? Here we are about to see the Moses shuffle be choreographed.
God and Moses do a two step, that has been re-performed countless times All based on Moses dodging and God persisting
But Who am I? -I am not good enough –
I will be with you Oh …
But Who are you – why should I trust you?
I have been here with your ancestors
I am reliable
But what if they don’t believe me and I fail?
I will not let you fail (I’m pretty good at this stuff)
But I am not talented enough: I stammer
If I can create humans and their speech I can help you with what to say
Cant you find someone else … anybody?
No. But Aaron will help you
For all of the dodging, God follows in the dance and despite its appearances at first, God is actually doing the lead.
Jesus seems more confident in his own baptism and his own call. That probably seems easy enough to us – he is God’s son. He has a head start! The reality is we probably feel more like Moses than we do like Jesus
But Peggy got the message and had progressed beyond the Moses shuffle. So too did Moses. Eventually I hope and pray that we each do as well.