[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.” (Exodus 3:2-4, NIV)

Have you noticed the words which Old Testament people use when someone important calls them by name? They don’t say “What?” or “Yes?” They answer with the curious sentence, “Here I am.” So much is in that sentence: readiness to respond, a willing servitude, an offering of oneself to the other.

—Walter Wangerin Jr.

The Lord now sees that we are together, that we have “gone over to look,” though our situation is different from when Moses had “gone over to look.”

God saw Moses.

God sees us.

God called Moses by name.

God is calling us from within the bush, “Emmanuel! Emmanuel!”

I pray we are responding, “Here I am. Here we are.”

I remember a conversation with Greg Hearn about praying for our next president. Greg had ideas about what the new president would be facing, but Greg sounded sure about one aspect. I asked him, “Why don’t you apply?” He laughed the Greg laugh, then told me why he wasn’t the one.

Now here he is. He is the one. Greg eventually said, “Here I am.”

Eighteen years ago, I had no plans to move from Florida to Georgia and work at Emmanuel.

Three years ago, I had no plans to pastor a local church again.

Seventeen days ago, I had no plans to move my office into another place after being in one office space for seventeen years.

But each time, God gave guidance.

Each time, whenever God said, “Here is where you are to be. Here is where I want you. Here is where I need you,” I needed to say, “Here I am.”

As I informed people about my office relocation, for two days I misspelled one word in each text: “move.” Though it is often my mistake to spell words incorrectly, this time it wasn’t. It was my phone’s fault. Whenever I attempted to write the word “move,” my phone changed the initial letter from an M to an L. Rather than “move,” the text was about to state “love” until I corrected it.

But maybe my phone was right after all. Maybe I needed to be corrected. Maybe the call from God wasn’t just to move, but to choose to love. Maybe “Here I am” is stating, “I choose to move. I choose to love whatever it is You call me to do.”

Here we are.

Let us move correctly.

Let us love deeply.

Let us, as Emmanuel University “where we meet God together,” laugh and cry like President Greg Hearn does, and say, “Here we are.”

Let us, at Emmanuel University “where we meet God together,” state and stutter like Moses, “Here we are.”

Let us move forward. And let us love it.