So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.” — Exodus 3:3-4
Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Shemot, which means which means “names,” from Exodus 1:1–6:1.
Recently, I came across the following story, and its message resonated deeply with me. On a busy Friday morning, a man played his violin in a busy subway station for 45 minutes. More than a thousand people passed by, but only six stopped to listen. At the end of the session, the musician had earned $32.
Here is what the commuters didn’t know: The violinist was one of the most talented musicians in the world, and the majority of people that day had missed out on an incredible opportunity. Joshua Bell had played one of the most intricate pieces ever written on a violin worth $3.5 million. The average price for a ticket to a concert he gave days earlier was $100.
As part of an experiment about perception and priorities, Bell agreed to play exceptional music in a commonplace environment at a busy hour to see how people would react. The results of the experiment revealed that, sadly, most people miss out on beauty and brilliance right before them when bogged down by rigorous schedules and daily demands.
Don’t Miss Out on God’s Beauty
This experiment led me to wonder. If people can miss such unmistakable talent right before their very eyes and ears, what other of God’s wonders are most of us missing out on?
In this week’s Torah portion, we read that Moses perceived a burning bush that, inexplicably, was not consumed by the fire. According to Jewish tradition, Moses wasn’t the first person to pass by that supernatural sight, but he was the first to take notice of it. As Scripture tells us, it was only after Moses went to check out the burning bush that God spoke to him. Only once he paused to behold the unusual sight did Moses encounter God.
Life can be busy and demanding. But we can never get so engrossed that we miss out on seeing God’s wonders around us and the godliness in our midst. Do we encounter God on the way to work? Can we find God in a baby’s laugh or in another person’s eyes? Can we see God in a common place and at a busy time? We are surrounded by beauty and holiness all the time, but it is up to us to see it.
Take a walk outside and pay extra attention to the sky, landscape, and all of God’s wonders. How does this awareness cause you to feel God’s presence more deeply?