Church Life, Life in the Manse

The place where you are standing

Then God said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” - Exodus 3:5 (NRSV)

Although the stay-at-home order in my county was lifted weeks ago, the church I attend continues to worship online. As a person with an autoimmune disease, a return to gatherings with anyone outside my family’s bubble will be as far off as the availability of a proven vaccine for Covid-19.

This feels hard for me, as it does for many, because I love going to worship. I have stood in church and felt the presence of God, and I have slipped off my shoes there because I knew we stood on holy ground. I have experienced the charge of the Spirit in a sanctuary full of singers, in the testimony of another, in shared confessions of sin, in vows of commitment, in stirring proclamation, in profound and potent silence.

Where is God still speaking to me? To us?

Of course, I know God speaks in places that are not church, and when I set aside my longing for what I cannot have right now, I think of Moses with his flock, drawn somehow beyond the wilderness to the mountain of God. The story doesn’t start at the burning bush. It starts with a God-given impulse to go farther than we might tend to go, to open ourselves up to go where God might be.

Where is God calling you today? Pay attention as you make your way. Be alert for the signs of Holy Presence. Turn aside and look. The place where you are standing may be holy ground.

O God of all that is good, draw us toward your ever-burning fire. Amen.

The view of the church from just outside our kitchen door.

I wrote this for the United Church of Christ’s Stillspeaking Daily Devotional.

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