1 Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. 3Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” 4 When the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:1-5)
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This story tells how God called Moses to be a leader of Israel. It contains all sorts of interesting details, like an angel’s appearance and a flaming bush that doesn’t burn. But of all the amazing things God says and does in this story, what I want to highlight in this devotional is how God directs Moses to remove his sandals because “the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
I used to exclusively think of holy ground as a place where the holiest of God’s people walked and dwelt. Holy ground was found in places like Jerusalem and Galilee. Holy ground was in buildings like ancient churches and monasteries. I realize now, however, that holy ground is all around us. It’s holy not because of what people have done there, but because of what God has done.
Is Grace’s sanctuary holy ground? Absolutely. But so is my childhood backyard in Kane. God was there too, forming and shaping me. My backyard in Halfmoon Township is holy ground too. God is there, in the forest, the woodland creatures, and holy conversations I’ve had with my friends and neighbors. You too are surrounded by holy ground, because God is likewise present in all the places you have been, all the places you are, and all the places you will one day go.
So wherever you are right now, symbolically take off your sandals. Honor the holy ground where you sit or stand right now, because I promise you that God is also there, right next to you.
Holy God, open my eyes to see how you are present with me everywhere I am, and that your presence makes the ground around me holy. Help me to reverence it as a way of reverencing you. Amen.
Rev. Scott E. Schul
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.