This wasn’t just any table, it was….

Had a coffee with Rich Johnson today. Those of you with an interest in Christian Mindfulness will recognise his name. I really appreciate not only his ministry but his friendship. In conversation today he used the phrase “holy ground” and when he did I felt the presence of God in a very strong and immediate way, which gave birth to an  awareness that I had to write something very specific  in terms of this blog when I got home from our meeting together, namely this:  do you know that when you are speaking with a fellow believer, relating to one another, you are both standing on holy ground? It is just as holy as the burning bush where I AM met with Moses; just as holy as the place where Jacob had his dream; it is as holy a moment as when Isaiah saw the Lord, high and lifted up, His glory filling the temple; it is as holy ground as the garden of Gethsemane or “The Place of the Skull”; it is as holy as a visit to heaven, which people in increasing numbers claim to have made; it is as holy as any genuine mystical experience: it is holy, because the Lord has chosen believers as His dwelling place by His Spirit. I sensed the truth of that this morning as I met with Rich. In meeting with one another we were each standing on Holy Ground, separated unto the Lord as His very own.

My fellow believers in Christ are Holy Ground, purchased as the dwelling place for God’s presence.  Remembering that will influence how I speak, how I listen, how I react and behave, for I am stepping onto God’s territory, and I need to honour His ways. I must behave and speak as God would have me behave and speak to someone that is His very own possession, a child of His grace. That means everything I do and say needs to be put through the filter of His warm and gracious and kind love. In my time of illness it is particularly that last aspect of divine love that I have been aware of again and again: the sheer kindness of that love.

Drinking coffee and talking in a setting of friendship today,  I knew I was in the presence of that kind love. Somehow a table in M and S became a safe  place to speak about things that I have been working through, to speak about fragilities and even wrong thinking  that my progress through illness has made me aware of; “It wasn’t just any table, it was an M and S table,” but it wasn’t just any M and S table, but one  made holy by virtue of the fact that two of God’s redeemed  children were sitting at it together relating in the kindness of the love of God found in Jesus Christ.

According to 1st. John there is no fear in love for fear is to do with punishment and perfect love drives out that fear. If we feel fear or shame in any friendship or relationship or within a church setting  it means that particular friendship, that fellowship, that church is not yet perfected in the love of God that is being expressed and shown, given and received; we are not yet fully recognising in one another the holy ground on which we stand. Perhaps in the Protestant Church we still have a reluctance to obey the Scriptures we claim are our supreme rule of faith and life in all aspects: what I mean is that I am not sure that confessing our sins to one another as we are told to do happens very much, not as much as it could or even should. When we do confess wrong thinking, wrong behaviour, wrong attitudes to a fellow believer, areas of struggle to live in the full freedom of Christ , it is wonderful when in one another’s eyes, words, silence, smile etc. we encounter no trace of condemnation but rather see and hear the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour.

Before you keep that arrangement to meet that fellow believer, whatever the purpose of that meeting, whatever you feel you take to that meeting, whatever you are planning to say, perhaps you should just pause and sing;

“This is Holy Ground!
We’re standing on Holy Ground,
For the Lord is here, and where He is, is Holy.”

By the way, remember that too when you are speaking to the Father’s lost children as well…

God Bless

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