Holy Grounding

Exodus 3:2–6; Exodus 20:22–26; 2 Chronicles 3:1–2 (read online ⧉)

The concept of “ ground” has a long-standing history. In popular imagination, church buildings and their lands are—by their very nature— ground. Whether it was vampires (or other un creatures) or Immortals (e.g., Connor MacLeod) or something else, the concept was ful.

While popular imagination puts ground more in the realm of something magical (or a convenient plot device), it does not deny or invalidate the reality of ground.

So, what could ground be? The simplest one is where says so. The only place where and ground are together in this way is here in Exodus (This passage is quoted in Acts, so that mention doesn’t count). However, the concept of a place set apart as is not unique to this verse.

Sometimes, as later in Exodus 20:22–26, is a place as (in this case, an altar), but it is not, in and of itself, ground. Yet, it is.

The burning bush in Exodus is pretty simple. However, this ground, that said was ground…we don’t even know where it is. Perhaps, then, it wasn’t so .

David had a confrontation with . The place where he offered a to remove his , which was caug the destruction of the people, was a threshing floor. It was a place of work.

Ug it, though, for a , it became a place. So , in f, that the was built there. We know where that place is right now. It wasn’t ed ground, though.

What made the former threshing floor ground was the s that would occur there. It wasn’t just praig and worshiping . It wasn’t just praying to . It was the place where “set his foot”. This was the formal ly residence on earth.

Just as the (not-so) burning bush (miracle notwithstanding) was ground, so were the uncut rocks, or piles of dirt, or a beautiful . It wasn’t the place per se that was , but the encounters with that made that space, for a time, .

For generations, for example, the sanctuary of the church was ground. As the megachurch rolled in, however, it transformed into a worship center. It’s not that was not encountered, it was just a change in the understanding of how it worked.

Even now, as we “gather” online, there are places (hopefully) of ly encounters. They just happen to be living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, other rooms, cars, even backyards. This is one of those things that Christian mystics can teach us…any place is when we are knowingly, purposefully, seekingly in the presence of .

※ Prayer ※
Lord, help us to seek your presence so that we are overwhelmed by your glory. Help us to find ground wherever we are. Amen.

※ Questions ※
1) Other than a church building, what are some other “ grounds” for you?
2) What makes a place consistently a ground?
3) Why is it critical to our theology, our with , and our Christian growth to understand that ground is not just at a church building (especially right now)?

Pastor Ian

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.