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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers

Turning Aside

In Exodus 3 on the far side of the wilderness, a bush was burning but not consumed. Moses, noticing it, said “I must turn aside to look.” Moses turned away from shepherding to see this strange phenomenon, soon realizing he was in a holy place. When Moses paused attentively, God revealed Himself, calling Moses by name, renewing his purpose and reiterating his promise of deliverance. We, too, are invited to turn aside to encounter the Lord and hear Him call our name, bringing renewal and promise.

What prevents us from turning aside to really look at the Lord and open ourselves to the Spirit? Distraction can crowd out the movement and drawing of the Spirit, keeping us from full-hearted devotion. “Blaise Pascal said that most of us spend our lives seeking divertissements (distractions) for we cannot bear the weight of the great questions.” (1) In short, distractions keep us avoiding the weightier spiritual things God calls us to. Like Martha, we can become so distracted that we don’t attend to the really essential work of sitting at the feet of Jesus (Lk. 10:40), turning aside to Him. But how great is the reward when we draw in close and meditate on who He is, fixing our eyes on the one who is the author and finisher of our faith.

Christ has reconciled us to Himself, and Paul reminds us to “stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust … careful not to be distracted or diverted” (Col. 1:22-23 MSG). He has made us alive together with Him, embedding in us His very life. So let’s walk in that, responsive to Him, alert to His movements, throwing off distractions and clutter. Often, we have to shake off the dullness the enemy brings, silencing the distractions, while intentionally pursuing the Lord who is worthy of our attention. May we say with Moses: “I must turn aside!”

(1) Bishop Robert Barren, Lenten Gospel Reflections, Word on Fire, 2001, p. 3.

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