Sunrise, sunset and burning bush: Cantor BB blog


The other day we observed the winter solstice. The day with the fewest hours of sunshine in the calendar year, the longest, darkest night. I happen to live 100 feet above the shore of Lake Michigan and I often get beautiful sunrises if I get up early enough – the beauty of the emerging sun reflecting off the clouds and the vast expanse of the lake.

Sunrise over Lake Michigan

This morning was the perfect day to capture the sunrise with my camera. As I tried to take the right photo, it struck me – this deep play of light and dark, day and night, water and sky. Not quite during the day, not quite at night. The moment of creation, a new day was born. In the days and weeks to come, minute by minute, we will step into the light, earlier in the morning and later in the evening.

It is impossible not to be awestruck by the power of this moment, which unfolds every day – mundane in a way, but far from it in appreciation and “wow” to watch the sun crawl across the water, this morning a. magenta red impossible to truly capture within the confines of the camera lens, just like the inability to capture so much of the brilliance of God’s creation: mountains, glaciers, sea, storm, a rainbow (no matter how many times I’ve tried over the years). They need to be experienced firsthand – no photography (no matter how many filters or magic I might use to try) come close. Awe is a face-to-face experience. As Moses lived at the Burning Bush.

Moses and the burning bush

I imagine the ancient Israelites as they walked through the promise that concludes the biblical book of Genesis, completed last week, in the shadows hovering over the first chapters of Exodus, that we begin this Shabbat.

Saved from famine and settled in Egypt, reconciled with Joseph, the B’nai Yisrael conclude Act I of our history with great promises in the land of Goshen. But where history resumes four centuries later in Shemot (Exodus), there arose in Egypt a new Pharaoh who did not know Joseph. Our ancestors are in their darkest days without even the slightest glimmer of light, of hope as they cry out to God from the depths of slavery.

Moses, having fled Egypt, keeps sheep, far from the prince of Egypt that he had been and just as far from the leader that he will become later in history (I’m sure I’m not disclosing big spoils here!). Moses is distracted as he tends to his sheep, caught by the sight of the bright, inexplicable light of a burning bush, burning, but not consumed by the fire. From within the glow and the flame emerges the voice of God calling on Moses to be his partner in freeing B’nai Yisrael from the horror of slavery. For Moses to come – reluctant as he is, unqualified as he thinks he is – from the shadows and guide his people to freedom. Bring them from the darkest day to the dawn of freedom.

We are (still) in the darkest days of the horrific plague called COVID-19, that version called Omicron. My hope as a chapter in our story titled 2021 leads us to a better 2022, letting us emerge into the light of being together without fear for health.

If you want to follow me on Twitter my username is @B_Barnett. If you are interested in my fiction and other book length works, please visit my webpage or my Amazon page. My first Cantor BB blog

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