Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)
It is incredible to think that God is everywhere. That the God who created the universe is in every place on the earth, all at the same time. He is in all those places and spaces, and yet He is here. He is present.
This omnipresence of God is perhaps echoed so much right now because of concerns about gathering. We are reminded that wherever we are, God is.
TVs and computers stream our worship services and the message rings out that we don’t need to be in a building to worship God. For we are the church, and where two or more believers are gathered there He is also (Matthew 18:20). In family worship at home, God is with us in our PJ’s as we watch “church on TV.”
Yet digging into Scripture this Sunday we found Moses as he encountered God at the burning bush. God’s first words to Moses are “Do not come any closer... Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” This removing of sandals and boundaries feel like a foreign concept to those of us who are grounded in the approachability of God. He is there with us whenever we need, and we are with him. When we read the lengthy preparation for the tabernacle (beginning Exodus 25), for the building of the temple or for the preparations of the priest, it feels odd. After all, God was not only located in the tabernacle nor temple for no temple could contain Him.
But these spaces, like the Burning Bush, were holy ground. Ground that invited the believer to prepare themselves for the encounter with a holy God.
So where is our sacred space? Our holy ground? For now the believers are the temple that God indwells us by his Holy Spirit. We are the priesthood that can boldly approach His throne. We have moved from holy places to holy people. Yet, can it be that while we need no building, no tabernacle or temple, there is good to be found in designating space as set apart? A place we know we can come to experience the presence of the Almighty? A time and space for which we can prepare ourselves to enter into a special awareness of His presence.
No, it does not need to be a building, the Word is clear. We need not put on our best clothes, and turn up to one location because He resides there with visiting hours between 10-11am for only the best dressed guests. We need not worry about the souls of those who visit a different church building. No. God is at the churches and outside the walls too.
Yet let us not be so quick to think of everything as holy that we forget to treat anywhere as holy. Where sacred and secular blend together so much that we forget what sacred is. Perhaps God gave us these spaces because space can help us to focus, to remember the sacred. That every space is not sacred until we intentionally make it holy, set apart, for Him.
Where is your Holy Ground? Perhaps it is your porch swing, a tree, a blanket by the lake, or gathered with other believers. But where will you intentionally seek and find His special presence and encounter Him?