Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Where You Stand is Holy Ground

When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”  Exodus 3:4-5

”All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” Matthew 11:27

Holy Ground
Words by Woody Guthrie, 1954, Music by Frank London (The Klezmatics), 2003

Take off, take off your shoes
This place you’re standing, it’s holy ground
Take off, take off your shoes
The spot you’re standing, its holy ground

These words I heard in my burning bush
This place you’re standing, it’s holy ground
I heard my fiery voice speak to me
This spot you’re standing, it’s holy ground

Sometimes, the wisest among us are the hardest to reach with faith revealed.  In Jesus’ day, the scribes and Pharisees rejected his preaching and the significance of his signs and miracles.  However, those with less formal education and training (the child-like) accepted them.  Today’s reading teaches us that acceptance depends upon revelation.  This revelation is granted to those who are open to receive it just like Moses was open to receive the revelation at the burning bush that he voluntarily approached.  

When have you been aware that you were standing on holy ground?  For me, one moment was on the tour of the excavations (scavi) under the Crypt Church at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Near the end of a one hour tour, we come to a niche behind a class wall.  Displayed are the bones of a seventy-year-old man dated to be from about two thousand years ago.  The bones found were placed in a series of small boxes which were all put back into the niche, thus locating them a couple of stories underneath the main papal altar at St. Peter’s.

These bones are now visible to all who participate in a Scavi Tour at the basilica. To look at these bones and pray in front of the few material remains of the Prince of the Apostles always serves as a call to greater faith and a deeper commitment to the service of God.  When the tour guide reveals what you are standing in front of, the entire group kneels in prayer for we know we are on holy ground.

Light a candle as your symbolic “burning bush” and see what is revealed to you as you meditate on the scripture and its light and warmth. 

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