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  • Writer's pictureJill Ball

Holy Ground

We may have differences of opinion about sacredness, holy places and styles of worship, but if we are one in Christ, there is so much more that unites us than separates us.

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit,
just as you were called to one hope when you were called;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Ephesians 4 v 1-6

Sacred Spaces

When Moses encountered Almighty God at the burning bush, he was told to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground.

The tent of meeting, and later the temple itself were sanctified spaces. Places where the presence of the Lord came down. The Jews had a sacred place in Jerusalem: the temple. Before that they had the tent of meeting and visited the holy mountain Mount Sinai.

Almighty God chose to be present in these places. Maybe this is what made them holy.

And many people have experienced the presence of God in Churches or Cathedrals.

My Experience

In some modern churches the expression ‘holy ground’ has become a metaphor for a special time of worship, when we feel close to God.

It is true that we see shadows of reality in the Old Covenant. So many ideas in the Old Testament point to a truth that is more defined in the New Testament.

However, I’m convinced that there are special places left on earth.

In Britain the early Christians often settled on islands, such as Iona and Lindisfarne, Holy Island, and founded monasteries there. These remain centres of Celtic Christianity.

Holy Island, a centre for Celtic Christianity in Northumberland, is glimpsed in the distance

When we visited the ruins of the city of Ephesus, Turkey, we visited what remains of the Church of Mary. As I stood on one particular spot the spiritual atmosphere felt different. I looked around and saw a plaque on one of the walls saying that on that very spot Pope had prayed for the country of Turkey when he visited the ruin.

One in Christ Jesus

Let’s be respectful for each other’s traditions. There is more that unites us than divides us. Let’s be humble and gentle and be willing to learn from each other.

Good families don’t have to agree on everything, but they still love and respect each other.

Naturally if someone denies that Jesus is Lord then he is not my brother or sister in Christ, by definition. But that still leaves millions of believers who are part of us, but don't belong to our particular denomination.

There is more that unites us, than divides us.

Let’s make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

That was Jesus’s prayer for us - that we would be one.

There is one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and one Father who is above all, through all and in all.

Sanctus - Faure Requiem

Faure lived most of his life in Paris. The Requiem Mass was largely composed in the late 1880’s. Faure described it as a ‘lullaby of death’, which he viewed as a ‘happy deliverance, an aspiration to happiness rather than a painful experience.’

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabbath.

Heaven and Earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

One way to appreciate the holiness of the Lord is through Biblical meditation.

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