The title ‘Adonai’ is an attribution of majesty, a recognition of the greatness and the dignity of God. The beauty of this Antiphon is seeing that majesty best-depicted in the fire of the burning bush, and in the giving of the Law.
Crucially, when God reveals himself to Moses, a highly-combustible desert shrub burns but is not consumed. That is to say, God’s vision – to enlist Moses in leading his people out from slavery – is impressed upon the created world without damaging it. This is in marked contrast to how those in positions of leadership have often gone about impressing their vision on others.
Likewise, the Law is given as gift. Essentially, the Ten Words (or, Commandments) state, ‘I have delivered you from slavery: do not sell yourselves back into slavery; nor treat yourselves as slaves; nor enslave others under you.’ This is a Constitution of the Free.
Yet that freedom has been too frightening a thing for us. We have chosen something safer than God’s majesty, and found ourselves enslaved by fear. Only perfect love – that burns without burning us – can set us free.
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.