When I look at my to-do list and my calendar I do not see “turning aside.” I suspect that is true for most of us. We live busy lives. To do lists are long, calendars are full, and time is short. There is no time for “turning aside.” It is not productive or efficient to turn aside from the life and the task that is before us. But it is necessary if we are to have the new life that awaits us. This Sunday’s lectionary tells of Moses turning aside to see the great sight of a burning bush that was not burned up, to remove his shoes and feel holy ground between his toes, and to hear God’s voice echo “I AM” to Moses’ own response, “Here I am.”
I have seen the sun break through to illuminate a small field for a while, and gone my way and forgotten it. But that was the pearl of great price, the one field that had the treasure in it. I realize now that I must give all that I have to possess it. Life is not hurrying on to a receding future, nor hankering after an imagined past. It is the turning aside like Moses to the miracle of the lit bush, to a brightness that seemed as transitory as your youth once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
What do we need to turn aside from, not because it is necessarily wrong or bad, but because it distracts us from what is real? I wonder what “great sights” we might see if we were to turn aside.