This Liturgy was written for the Reconciliation Liturgy at the Loud and Clear conference 2007. The First Reading of the Day was the encounter of Moses with the Burning Bush - and so was born the idea of celebrating the transforming encounters with God - in biblical history - and within the setting of a celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The liturgy began at 5pm - priests were available for individual confession (on a rota!) for about three hours and people re-gathered at 9pm (after supper) to conclude the liturgy. The time of confessions was interspersed with music and many people simply stayed to pray quietly during this time.

Introductory Prayers

We have come at the invitation of our God,

called into this place

called into this time

called into the presence of God.


The God of Abraham –

who taught humanity to gaze to the stars

and await –

generation by generation –

the fulfilment of his promises


The God of Isaac –

conceived in the promise of angels –

delivered by the mercy of God 

to bless his son as patriarch

founder of God’s people


The God of Jacob

who wrestled by night with his Creator

and at dawn received his blessing.



We come at the invitation of our God –

the God whose call echoes across ages;

resounding in time and space

yet intimate –



Reader A voice that calls us to encounter:
  to encounter with grace beyond telling –
  to encounter with healing and transformation –
  to encounter that calls us to stillness and to awe –
  to encounter with the presence whose compassion brings healing –
  the power that transforms
  the love that cherishes us into changing.
Music started quietly under the introductory readings and then went straight into



Be still for the presence of the Lord

Lord God, you created a world of beauty and majesty

entrusting it to the keeping of your people.

Grace us with your presence

lead us to your truth

and bring us to perfection of faith, hope and love.


Reading Exodus 3: 1-6, 9-12
Moses encounters God in the Burning Bush....

It may be that the "reflector" would prepare this themselves drawing from their own experience/ spirituality.
This is offered as a possibility/ starting point – based on the idea of Moses reflecting on his encounter with God.


I could have walked by.


It was a strange sight to be sure…

but I could have walked past –

averted my eyes

and focused on the sheep.

(fondly) Silly animals! 

But a full time job…


A wife – a family – a job…

I had no need to notice anything out of the ordinary –

life was full –  

life was good –

life was all I wanted it to be…

and yet

and yet I looked.


A bush – burning and yet not consumed by the flame.

I was puzzled –

intrigued –

curious –

all that –

and yet more…


It was as if I was drawn –

I was called

I was pulled

I was invited…


It was not my initiative but that of… (possible other voices – as if “angels prompting”!)

that of something speaking to a yearning I did not yet know I had –

that of something enfolding a desire so deep it was hidden from me –

that of something –

of someone

speaking in tones that resonated

touched chords in me that vibrated with the harmony of the heavens –

calling the deepest within

to the utterly beyond.


The bush was burning –

all that was needed of me was to notice –

to notice and not to walk by –

to notice and allow this thing I had never seen before

to touch my curiosity –

to create an attraction that was easier to act on than to ignore.


And once attracted…

ah, once attracted –

then I knew this was not about a burning bush –

this was not an interruption to a day going about my daily business –

not an aside.


God had stepped into the ordinariness of a day

and enticed me to step into the extraordinary.

In the wideness of the wilderness

God marked out a sanctuary –

a holy ground

onto which he invited me to stand:

bare sole against bare sand

so that my body should know in time

my soul’s encounter with the eternal.


God sanctifying human time and space –

a bush – burning…

on such a small thing did the changing of history depend.

A small thing

a strange thing –

and I could have walked by.

But I did not –

I took off my shoes and took the risk of standing on that holy ground –

a mortal man, I dared to speak with the immortal and omnipotent God of my ancestors –

and my God transformed me.


History knows my name because God called it first.

An encounter – not in palace or temple –

not between God and the great and the good –

but an encounter next to a bush

between God and me – a man slow in speech –

unaware of my destiny…


An encounter such as can happen in this place –

where God enters the ordinary

to encounter his people –

coming into a place where many are gathered

in order to speak to sons and daughters

of his dreams for them:

to release them from that which holds them bound

to liberate them from their doubt and darkness

to send them renewed




on the great adventure

of the journey to his Promised Land.


Reflection/ symbolic gesture (creating holy ground)

“Bush” placed centrally (before liturgy) – with strips of flame-coloured cellophane in baskets close by – 4 (or more?)

Reconciliation stations set up beforehand but at this point priests are invited to come forward and take lit candles to where they will be sitting. As they go, the following prayer is said (perhaps several times - accompanying each priest...)



May the blessing of God the Creator be upon this place

The blessing of Christ, Incarnate Redeemer –

The blessing of the Spirit, hallowing and healing –

The blessing of our Triune God on all who come in peace

and seek an encounter with the loving and divine.

As people celebrate the sacrament - or simply wish to acknowledge an encounter with God, they tie a strip of cellophane to the "bush". To add to the effect, the tree can be up-lit. Music and quiet song are played at intervals.
Regathering Simple reflection on what has happened  -
the transformative encounter with God in the sacrament -
the importance of the prayer one for another -
and time to thank God and prepare to depart.
Reading Exodus 3: 13-15
The encounter with God ends when Moses is sent to the people to set them free...

Concluding Prayer


God of infinite power and tenderest mercy,

open our hearts and minds to awareness of your presence.

Challenge our complacency –

assure us of your forgiveness –

empower us to place before you

the sin which diminishes us as your children.

Concluding Song To celebrate the encounter with God.

© 2007 Wellspring


Wellspring Liturgies | Wellspring Core Page |