Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Holy Ground

A desert bush in springtime bloom

In the Hebrew Scriptures, we hear the story of how Moses experienced God's Holy Presence. 

While in the desert on the way to the Promised Land, Moses walks up onto Mount Sinai, and there he experiences God's presence in a "burning bush." Moses is then instructed to take off his sandals because he is standing on holy ground.

Living out here in the desert, I understand that story about Moses and the burning bush more than I ever have in my life. 

Almost every day I walk across the street from my retreat house and walk the trails up into the mountains. And even though I have walked those paths many times before, I am always in awe of the beauty springing up out of the vast, stark desert landscape. This is especially true in the springtime when flowers rise up from the rock and sand, and bushes and cacti bloom.

I  always feel as if I am walking on holy ground and somehow it feels almost sacrilegious to be wearing sandals or sneakers.

I am reminded of a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I recite it almost daily. 

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Today might be a good day for all of us to find heaven crammed into our own everyday common life.

Everywhere we walk is holy ground.  

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