I think most modern-day Christians misuse the concept of ‘holy ground’. Most often, it seems to be used as a manipulative tool to either give worship a serious tone or to pass down unwritten and outdated rules to teenagers.
The idea of holy ground brings up a whole host of questions: Who gets to decide if it's holy or not? Doesn’t the whole world belong to God, therefore making the whole earth holy? Are we seriously suggesting that there are places, literal geographical places that are void of the presence of God, as though God can’t get past the black sand intended to keep the Smoke Monster out?
I’m not quite sure what made the ground under Moses’ feet in chapter 3 of Exodus holy, but I’ll bet that it had something to do with his new awareness of the presence of God and his desire to treat that with respect and awe. Maybe the ground wasn’t holy…maybe his experience of the ground was holy.
I remember presiding at a funeral for a woman I had never met. Usually, like most good ministers, I try to make a funeral service as personal as possible, focusing on a life well lived and beautiful memories that will sustain us longer than our grief can last. But when you didn’t have a relationship with the deceased, this becomes infinitely more difficult.
On this particular occasion, the other minister and I opted for an open-mic share time, where anyone could come and share the memories about which we could not speak.
A niece reflected on a moving experience. She was a native Texan, living on the East Coast, who, for whatever reason, wanted her children to be born in Texas. Something about being a Texan had so shaped her identity that it brought her to tears to think of Connecticut being on her daughter’s birth certificate. Yet, the events of life prevented her from ever making this dream a reality.
The niece shared that, while she was in labor, an odd box showed up, having been overnighted from Texas. Inside were instructions on how the husband was supposed to empty it’s contents of Texas soil beneath the mother and doctor, so that her dream of giving birth on Texas soil would come true.
The birth certificate still says Connecticut…but they will always know the truth.
Holy Ground indeed…