Amy Jones,
Agape Coordinator
Dear God, we come to worship you today. 
We come to pray, and listen.
You always hear us. 
Help us to hear you. Amen
Ex 3:1-5

1Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
This past weekend I received a package in the mail containing a letter from a friend and her husband and twelve cards, one with a calendar for each month of the year. Each card has beautiful abstract art on it. In the letter accompanying the package, my friend explained that each card contained a recent example of her husband’s photography. In the letter, he explained his influences for each piece and what it meant to him. It was the most surprising piece of mail I’ve received in a long time and I can’t stop marveling at his art. 

Moses is hardly a hero up to this point in his story. He is the cast-off son of a Hebrew woman. He was adopted by an Egyptian royal family until he killed an Egyptian slave owner for beating his Hebrew slave. When he is found out for this crime he flees to Midian where he defends Reuel’s daughters against a bunch of bullying shepherds and helps them water their flock. This is how he comes to be a member of a Midianite family.

Moses doesn’t really belong anywhere. He is not quite Egyptian, not quite Hebrew, and not quite Midianite. It’s no surprise that he wanders with the flock beyond the wilderness. In some sense, Moses’s whole identity is beyond the wilderness.

Moses stops to admire the bush that is burning but not burned up because it is incredible. He puts everything else on pause just to see this one marvelous, beautiful thing.

On New Year’s Eve I was just glad for 2020 to finally be over. It was fun to see friend’s photos as they celebrated the end of a trying year, hoping for something better in 2021. But when I woke up on January 1, 2021 I realized that not much was different. The virus continues to spread. ICU’s continue to fill. The vaccine is not as simple as it seemed just a few weeks ago. The election is still contested by some. Even though I knew I wouldn’t wake up in a new universe, it felt deflating to wake up and realize that it seems I am still somewhere beyond the wilderness.

I think that is what makes the art I received in the mail all that much more surprising and beautiful. Opening that package really made me pause. I read the letter several times in awe of this incredible photography that is described simply as a “hobby.” I looked through each calendar card and really studied and enjoyed each image, reading about them all again.

There were no echoing divine voices when I opened that package. The new year didn’t drastically change much around me, but this new beautiful calendar did change the way I experienced the new year. It gave me an unexpected moment to pause. I set aside the other mail and allowed myself to be amazed and delighted by what another person can do. 

Our ability to wonder and find beauty in the world around us is part of what makes us human. We were designed by God to be curious, to be drawn in by beauty, so it is no surprise that we often find God in the moments when we are most in awe. 

Though we often look to the major milestones or big markers of time, like New Year’s Day, to give us signs of where we are in space and time, it is actually in pausing to wonder in awe of the beautiful and marevelous things before us that actually anchor our identities. Moses was not going to discover who he was in the wilderness, but in stopping to wonder about something amazing, he came to learn something deep about himself. 

I hope you find yourself lost in awe as you wonder at the beauty of the amazing world around you.
Light up our eyes with the wonder and amazement of the incredible things you have created, God. Make us free to lose ourselves in the beauty so that we can better find you. Amen
Amy Jones
Amy Jones, Agape Coordinator
Amy Jones our Agape Coordinator is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church. In this tradition, deacons are ordained clergy who bridge the ministry of the church with the needs of the world, and vice versa. In more than 15 years of ministry, she has worked in churches, in children and family ministry, higher education, and nonprofits. In each setting, her focus has been on matching the resources of the church with the needs of the world. Agape Community Kitchen is exactly the type of work she was called to do. 

Amy can be reached by email at:
The Presbyterian Church in Westfield continues to burn as a light in the darkness as our community weathers this fearsome storm of illness. Our reach of care continues to extend far beyond our immediate borders. You can help us make a real impact in the lives of others by joining in our work through your time, your talents, and also in the fruits of your labors.
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