Sunsets and burning bushes

By Wayne Allen - [email protected]



In Exodus 3 we find these words;

3 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”

4 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.”

5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

There is an ancient question that goes along with the scripture, did Moses stumble upon the burning bush or had it been burning the whole time and he just noticed?

With the holiday season or any other day of the week, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of the day or the season and before you know it, the day, the week, the month or the year has passed you by and are left questioning where the time went.

I know without a doubt, I have asked myself that question in wonderment on what was accomplished or what was missed in the business of the moment.

There has been five moments in recent years where I have seen my equivalent of a burning bush.

Three of those moments came in 2016.

Every summer since I can remember I dedicate all the vacation time allotted to me by Civitas Media. In 2016 I was able to take a few weeks off, using that vacation time.

The first week I along with about a dozen or so people drove to Independence, Missouri for the Community of Christ World Conference. The conference is held every few years and over the course of the week there are business sessions, where delegates vote on matters before the church as a whole.

There were thousands of people at this conference from all parts of the world. Although there were barriers that separated individuals like speaking different languages. We were able to come together as a people to make some important decisions and worship all week long.

Going into the conference I had a lot on my mind, there were issues with this or that, I’ll spare you the details. One of the awesome responsibilities I had during the week was being on a team of photographers that helped to document the week through photos.

Where we were at, in such a unique environment it was easy to get lost in the moment.

One evening I decided I wanted to watch the sunset against the background of the church facilities, to see what kind of light it would show.

As it turned out the sky was clear blue the entire day, right up until the sunset which only emitted a faint yellow on the horizon line. Trying to make the best out of the situation I tried to look at it from every angle I could to make it better than it was.

As the sun completely set and darkness was upon me, I found the nearest ledge and sat down for some quiet time. In that moment I could not get my mind to think of anything else other than, do you realize where you are, what you’ve been able to experience thus far? You are in the midst of people from around the world and get to share in some of the same experiences, how lucky are you?

Once I was able to wrap my mind around that, I could only sit in the quiet. I did not want to say anything and am not certain if I could or if I did would it mess up the moment. I might have sat on that ledge for 30 minutes, my mind drifted between this and that. I said a few prayers for people I knew that needed them and went on my way.

The rest of the conference was great and I was able to make some memories that will last a lifetime.

Just before Christmas, I was in New Boston shopping for some gifts and by the time I left the store, the sun was setting. It was a nice sunset, I took a few pictures with my phone and went on my way. Driving through New Boston, through Portsmouth and towards West Portsmouth, the sunset again caught my eye. I thought it was decent but I did not need to stop and take more photos.

I was nearly home when I realized I needed to take a closer look at the sunset. As soon as I could I turned around and headed towards Alexandria Point Park. If you’re ever looking for a good spot to watch a sunset that’s the place with the backdrop of the Carl Perkins Bridge.

I arrived at the park and the vantage point did not disappoint. I could have stayed in the park and took photos, I instead went to the banks of the river for a closer look. Again, it did not disappoint and one of the photos I took is currently the cover photo on the Daily Times Facebook page, if you’re interested in the results.

I was glad I decided that sunset needed a closer look and the people of Facebook agreed according to the amount of likes and shares of the photos.

It’s my prayer for you, that you may be aware of where you are and the experiences of your life as they happen. May you find that burning bush in your life, aware of how blessed you truly are.


By Wayne Allen

[email protected]

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or @WayneallenPDT on Twitter.