Standing on Holy Ground

“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. 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.” ‘Do not come any closer,’ God said. ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.’ Then he said, ‘I am the God of your Father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.” –Exodus 3:2-6

How often do we look for that sign of a burning bush within our own lives? I know there have been many times in my own life when I have wished that God’s voice would come to me in a burning bush. But as I have looked for that burning bush, to no avail, that burning bush has been no where to be found!

Maybe I have been looking in all the wrong places. Perhaps God is putting burning bushes in our path, just not like we would expect those burning bushes to come into our lives. The truth is, I believe, that we are experiencing our own burning bushes throughout our lives. We experience those especially when we see someones heart or someone shares their faith with us. I am reminded of a quote that I read today on a friend’s FB page. The quote reads:

“We stand before a burning bush whenever other human beings share with us something of their relationship with God or something of the moments of their hearts. In such moments may we always realize that we stand on holy ground.”–Margaret Silf

These words speak so much to me. As I have sat in my friend’s house, sharing a meal with her and her daughter, I have found myself on holy ground. As I have sat in yet another friend’s house and heard her heart, I have once again found myself on holy ground. As I have watched my Confirmation students create cards for someone other than themselves, I have found myself on holy ground. As I have shared in numerous families joys and sorrows, I have found myself yet again standing upon holy ground. As I have read new blogs, accepted new Facebook friend requests, and voxed with new #write31 day friends, I have realized that I am standing upon holy ground yet again. When another friend bravely shares her heart through her music, I find myself surely standing on holy ground.

There is something incredibly holy about standing on holy ground with others who understand me and my heart. God truly wants us to share ourselves with each other. God wants us to show who God created us to be with each other. God wants us to be authentic and even gentle with ourselves. That isn’t easy because God is so much gentler with us than we are with ourselves. And because of that God places incredible people into our lives so that we can stand on holy ground together.

I am thankful for the ways that I have experienced and will continue to experience holy ground in my life. And I am thankful for all of you who have shared yourself with me and have allowed me to stand on holy ground with YOU! May we all continue to share our stories with each other and may our eyes be opened to those times of holy ground in our own lives.

 

The “Holy Space” of Prayer

Prayer is a pretty incredible gift! The last several years for a Lenten practice instead of giving something up, I have decided to take something on. Now I realize that I pray every day…or at least I try to….but often the days have gotten long and I find myself quickly getting the words out. But every Lent for the last two-three years as I have prayed through my friends list, I have realized how focused it makes me and how incredibly powerful it can be to pray for others in my life. It truly reminds me of the communion of saints gathered here and around the world!

There is something incredibly awesome and holy about being let into that “holy space.” I have been asked to pray for friends who have family members suffering an illness. I have been asked to pray for friends as they have tried to start their own families. I have been asked to simply enter into these “holy spaces” and to pray for my friends and family. I hold each prayer with delicateness and pure grace as I lift each one of them before God. “Let my prayers rise up like incense…”

And by entering into these “holy spaces,” I have watched as God has answered these prayers. God hasn’t always answered them in the time or the places that I have prayed for or that my friends and family have specifically asked for but I truly believe God has heard my prayers and hears all of our prayers. I have rejoiced with friends as they have finally been able to take their child home with them. I have mourned with friends as someone they have loved is no longer suffering and no longer in pain but has left this Earth. I have found peace in the midst of a friends troubled relationship because they have finally found peace.

Prayer has taught me so much about what it means to trust in this One who calls and claims each and every one of us as God’s children. God promises that God will never leave us or forsake us. I realize that isn’t easy to trust in because life happens but the promise is that God will always be with us. And because God is always with us, we can ALWAYS turn to him in prayer. I’ll admit there are days when I want to be selfish and pray for myself…pray for silly things. Yes, there are times when I truly do need to turn to God in prayer for healing, for wholeness, for peace for myself but the gift is when I let go and pray for those around me, I begin to see God answering prayers that I have repeatedly said to God for myself.

In praying for others, I have been asked several times by my friends how they can pray for me? I know that there is a whole community of faith in Dilworth, MN who hold me in their hearts and pray for me to find my Mr. Right, to start a family, etc. I know that there is a community of Diaconal Ministry colleagues who daily pray for me. I also know that there is a community of faith right here in Minot ND who daily pray for me too. And there are people scattered throughout the United States and even around the world who know my heart and soul and continually pray for my prayers to be answered. And knowing that is enough!

“Ask, and it will be given you; search and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).”