There's this scene in Exodus when Moses notices a bush that is on fire and it isn't burning up. So Moses walks up to the bush to find out what is going on and if the fact that the bush wasn't burning up wasn't enough, the bush starts talking. Here's what Moses heard:
"Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." - Exodus 3:5
Now what do you do if you're Moses. I mean, of course you do what the voice tells you... but how odd. And think about this, what did the holy ground look like when Moses took off his sandals? What does "holy ground" look like?
He takes off his sandals and he is left there standing barefooted, with the dirt and dust of the ground between his toes. The rocks are indenting his feet and the bugs are crawling all around.
That's not exactly my picture of "holy ground."
If I'm picturing the "holy ground," it looks more like golden streets that are polished to perfection and less like the dust and durt of the wilderness. But it's not the ground that makes this situation special. The ground isn't holy because it's special dirt, the ground is holy because God said it's holy. It's the same thing that happens when we gather around a table and eat and drink bread and wine; it's a holy moment because God says so.
For some odd reason, we all create these images in our heads of what the holy and divine should look like. But what would the holy and divine look like if we took a moment and paused in the midst of God's work everyday and looked down at our feet?
In the Mess and in the Mundane
As you stand by a bedside and look down at your feet as they stand on dimly light tiles in the hospital room, you are standing on holy ground. As you line the bedroom with towels to protect the carpet from a night filled with your kids' vomit, take a look at where you are standing... it's holy ground. As you stand in the grass, talking to your neighbor over a beer, you are standing on holy ground. When you walk back into the bedroom after you said something you regret trying to figure out the words you'll say, the floor quietly creaking underneath your feet is sacred.
God works in the every moment of life. At times it is explicit and clear and at other times it is hard to see as we experience a God who is difficult to see at work. From the ordinary and everyday moments of our daily routines to the difficult and painful season of sufferings, we find God at work. Martin Luther once suggested, "He who does not know Christ does not know God hidden in suffering.” He also suggested, "All our work...These are the masks of our Lord God, behind which he wants to be hidden and to do all things." @@In the mess and the mundane, God promises to be at work.@@
What is it that makes the ground you stand on holy?
It's not you.
@@Grace is the reality that Jesus cares enough to show up where you need him the most.@@ That's what makes the ground you are standing on holy. It's not holy because of what you've done or because your location is uniquely divine; it's holy because God promises to show up and do his work.
God cares enough about his people in Egypt that he actually hears their cry; God cares enough about the oppressed that he shows up. God cares enough about his people who are oppressed by sin, so much so that he would show up in a broken world as a baby boy in order to die.
And God cares enough about you to hear your cry. God shows up in the midst of your mess and in the midst of your mundane. Because the death and resurrection of Jesus makes no exceptions and your sins don't change the promise, "I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Whatever ground it is that you stand on - unlace your shoes, slip them off, and take a look at the ground you are standing on. In the midst of the pain, in the midst of the everyday, and in the midst of the work, you are standing on holy ground. While God's presence might seem hidden, you can be confident that Jesus is with you and fighting for you.
And that means the tiles, the carpeting, the wood floors, the grass, the dirt... the ground you are standing on is holy. Because God's there. And God is at work.