This morning’s reading from Exodus (3:1-6, 9-12) is one of those cinematic pieces that includes the image of the “bush that burns but it is not consumed.” Moses was, of course, curious about that bush but in approaching it he is stopped in his tracks as he hears God call his name. When he responds, “Here I am!” God tells him to take off his shoes because he is standing on holy ground. It is in this place that Moses is given the charge to lead the Israelites out of the slavery of Egypt. He demurs, saying “Who am I?” [to accept this role]. Instead of giving him reasons for the choice, God says, “I will be with you.”
There are three things in this short summary that speak to me. 1. Each morning as I try to be conscious in meditation, “Here I am” is the phrase I use to bring me back from random thoughts to presence. It’s as if God is calling, “Lois, Lois…” (just like “Moses, Moses…”) and I am jolted into a deeper silence. 2. The notion of “holy ground” always brings to mind a song of that title that was popular in spiritual circles sometime ago; we often used it in rituals during retreats. The refrain began with the words: This is holy ground. We’re standing on holy ground, for the Lord is present and where God is is holy. More and more I believe that to be true. It is God’s presence that makes holy each place we visit, each encounter with people, each moment we live. All we need to do is wake up to that presence. 3. The promise that God will be with us in all the days and events of our lives is what makes possible a positive response to challenges. Whether or not we question our ability to rise to those challenges (“Who am I…?”) just remembering that we are not alone should allow us to step forward into what awaits.
So it’s all one really: our presence to God, God’s presence to us, God’s presence everywhere we look…Holy ground is the place we live and where we have the potential for great holiness.