Bema and the Burning Bush

The Lord is there in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day when he asks Adam, “Where are you?”

What we do in the Sanctuary is walk through the Scripture. When we meet here, the Lord again is in our midst and asks each one of us, “Where are you today?” “What is your situation of life?” “Why are you suffering?” “What are you hiding from?”

Many people today are far from the Word of God. Who lives in sin, hides just like Adam did and does not want to hear the sound of the Lord who is walking in the garden? The seminarians gather here in the Sanctuary for a formal liturgy of “walking through the scripture” called a “Scrutatio” once a week. They are also encouraged to come on their own to have a personal time with the Lord in the Scripture.



Opposite the Tabernacle is the imposing structure called a Bema. Also made of local Jarrah timber, it is the place where the Word is sung and proclaimed. In the Eastern Rites, out of love for Scripture the Divine Word is always sung, also because the life of Christ was always seen as a canticle to the will of the Father.

Middle Space
The middle space

The thrones have been positioned in a particular way allowing for a central corridor and for visibility. The fact that the front row is stepped down helps each person to be visible to the other. In between there is a corridor. This middle space reminds us of the episode in the Garden of Eden.

Burning Bush
Burning Bush

The Eastern facing window is known as the Burning Bush. It reminds us of the experiences of Moses in Egypt. Firstly God appears to him for the first time in the wilderness of Mt Sinai in the flame of a burning bush which is not consumed and tells him that the land beneath his feet is sacred. Later again on Mt Sinai Moses was to receive the gift of the Ten Commandments or better, the Ten Words of Life, the Torah.

A specimen taken from Mt Sinai has been included in the Foundation Stone and can be viewed upon leaving the Sanctuary.