Precious Pilgrim, If you don't mind, I'd like to mentally go back into the woods, those ones that we just visited recently. It was such a "memorable event," one which I have been mentally savoring and relishing over and over again. I think there's more to be explored in the woodland scene. This "Holy Ground" needs to be mentally revisited once more. I feel my "Holy Ground" understanding needs to be broadened.
What is "Holy Ground?" For me, it's where I meet God "one-on-ONE." It's funny, but the first thing that I was dying to do when I came out of the woods, was to find a rock to place on the very spot where I prayed - to mark the spot. I yearned to say, with a monument or a marker of some sort, that this now was "Holy Ground." I wanted it to be set apart - a God-encountered spot.
Earlier that morning, I had the same strong urge to mark a prayer spot. I wanted my group to sign the wall up in the top-floor chaplet at the lake. (Precious husband of mine, don't worry, we didn't.) But these six precious ladies are my prayer partners. We have been meeting weekly for over five years - praying, sharing and holding each other accountable in our individual Christian walks. I love them. I wanted them to sign the wall, just a little graffiti to commemorate our first service at the lake. For ever since we had moved into our house I wanted - I needed - these precious ladies to come worship our Lord on these premises. Somehow, it would finalize and complete the house. And it did! We held a Morning Prayer service and I wanted signed walls so that for as long as the house stood, this event would be remembered. "Holy Ground," set-apart ground. I understood why mankind, throughout the ages, has created Stonehenges and mounds and altars and monuments and churches and cathedrals. They needed and wanted to shout throughout the ages that something extraordinary had happened there: "one-on-ONE" communication occurred. God and man communed.
One of my favorite activities on trips is to seek out the "Holy Grounds." Of course, I love to visit and worship at the various churches and cathedrals, for they are grand and glorious. But the places I would like to write about and give tours of are unexpected ones, the surprise, serendipity ones: a neon cross from a dorm window, a tree cross in the woods, a one-pew chapel in a huge cathedral, a blue-windowed chapel in a hospital, an airport chapel in New Zealand. You turn a corner and surprise! There's "Holy Ground." It's this unexpected pleasure, this unexpected shout of "Holy Ground Here" that always stops me dead in my tracks. Hold it, busy world; God is here!
But my vision needs to be expanded. At the ladies' lake retreat, you would have loved seeing all the Christian ornaments. I have never seen more crosses and fishes and butterflies and doves gathered. We were all marked as Christ's own, not only by the glow of our faces, but by the wonderful Christian jewelry. It became almost a game, recognizing our markings. One person even went so far as interpreting the insignia on my blue jeans back pocket as two fish kissing.
It's fun to not only come across surprise "Holy Ground" places, but the jewels reminded me of how much fun it is to bump into strangers, walk by strangers, sit by strangers, talk to strangers and notice little gold crosses glittering around their necks. Their strangeness instantly dissolves into recognition of a fellow sister or brother in Christ. My understanding of "Holy Ground" expands to not only include places, but also fellow Christians. If I had to diagram this expanse, I'd say the "one-on-ONE" encounter had been broadened to "one-on-One-on-one."
But again, my vision needed to be expanded. And it was, by Mother Teresa. A dear friend lent me the video on this saint. This week I watched it once, then twice, then a third time. An expansion took place. The diagram of this new "Holy Ground" stretch would be lengthy - in fact, limitless instead of limited. It might look like:
Some of her love stretches I would like to share:
<--Stretch--> "Each individual person has been created to love and to be loved. Hindu, Muslim, Jews, Communists, Christians -- doesn't matter. Rest doesn't matter. Religion doesn't matter. Every single man, woman, child, is a child of God, created in the image of God and that's what we look at."
<--Stretch--> "God's love is infinite, full of tenderness, full of compassion. God loves to work through us - you and me. The way you touch people, the way you give to people, that love for one another. It is His love in action through us."
<--Stretch--> "Very often other people mistake the work with the vocation. The work is not the vocation. The vocation is to belong to Jesus."
<--Stretch--> "We need lots of love to forgive, but we need much more humility to ask for forgiveness. I want you to share the joy of loving."
<--Stretch--> "His love in action for us was the crucifixion."
<--Stretch--> "Small things with great love. It is not how much we do, but how much love we put in the doing," and "It's not how much we give, it's how much love we put in the giving."
<--Stretch--> "To God there is nothing small. The moment we have given it to God, it becomes infinite."
Husband of mine, you can relax; I don't think graffiti is necessary for chaplet marking. And woods, I believe two knee prints on the ground will suffice for a monument. "How lovely are the dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts."Holy Ground Surrounds Us All.