Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Holy Ground

Right here. Because of things unseen, because of His moving on our behalf…

Here on the veranda, dark wooden table, elephant skull and day lilies, where I have come to know Jesus as my closest friend. Here where loneliness has cut me like a panga, where the waves have come up to my neck, but He never once let go of my hand. Here where black ink and teardrops and splats of coffee stain the pages of my beaten Bible, where He meets with me morning by morning.

Here in the maternity ward, where new life comes like the sunrise. Baby Yokanna, full of promise. Papa stolen away by HIV before his baby boy took a first breath. But Mama Hope is all smiles, holding her new treasure. “Atunula nga ki taawe,” she says. “He looks like his father.” Beauty from ashes.

Here, Moses wakes with the morning and sets off into the wilderness. “I’m going to watch my father-in-law’s flock, take them out to graze, come home in time for dinner, go to bed.” God is whispering “Oh my sweet Moses, you have no idea.” He reaches the west side, the Mountain of God, smelly sheep in tow. Heaven kisses earth and the bush is in flames. Right here, the unforeseen sacred. God meets man. “Moses, take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”

Moses could not have possibly understood the weight those words carried that day. He was watching sheep, just being a good little son-in-law. He wasn't trying to move Heaven and Hell, he was simply trying to make it through the day. But God in His grace had other plans. Plans to split the sea, to rain down bread, to affect generations, to bring redemption to all people. And stuttering, sheep-herding Moses played a part in that.

H o l y   g r o u n d.

Here, slum in shambles, thirty pregnant bellies gathered, Mama Pastor is teaching from John 15. Her Luganda is passionate and cuts to the heart. We are tired. We have had a rough week, a long day. But God is whispering “Don’t check out yet, just watch…” Timid but wide-eyed, Mama Eve raises her hand. Isabelle and Mama Pastor sit on either side of her and my eyes well as I piece together the Luganda and realize what is happening. Mama Eve is putting her faith in Jesus. Salvation is happening. Here, grace upon grace. Today changes everything. And this red dusty floor is holy ground.

I sit on a hard wooden pew, Nathan in my lap, swooning over his tiny baby yawns. The preacher is passionately teaching from 2 Corinthians and the translator is fighting to keep up. To my left, sits an old Congolese mama, battered Bible laid out on her kitengi skirt. I can only imagine the celebration and sorrow these Swahili words of God have seen her through. I hold in my hand my English Bible, turned to 2 Corinthians, words underlined in purple pen, notes scrawled all over the margin, memories of the words He has stirred up in my heart. To my right is Mama Sarah, looking in the table of context for the book of 2 Abakkolinso in her brand new Luganda Bible. Since joining Uniquely Woven, I have watched God walk Mama Sarah from darkness into light. These three Bibles, this image, this day is too beautiful to bare. I lift my eyes to see the cross painted on the far wall, and praise this God who transcends all cultures and languages, who meets us where we are, Jesus who all fills all in all. I obediently slip off my sandals. 

H o l y   g r o u n d.

I want to encourage you, that if you are following hard after Jesus, if you are seeking Him above all else, you are standing on holy ground. Maybe today the ground you stand on is doing loads of laundry, replying to emails. Living the dream, or working part time at a job you hate. God is in these moments, He is sanctifying you and your days hold eternal weight.

In Luke 10, Jesus’ servants return to tell Him about their day, and he replies “I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven.” You see a to-do list, and He sees the foundations of the earth shaken. You see tile floors, He sees holy ground. Take off your shoes and run well today, friends. There is more to this day than what we can see.