It was Easter Morning 1999 and my husband, who had been a vibrant, stirring, muscular man, was now reduced to a skeletal figure forced to lie flat on his back on a hospital bed. Our three children, all in their twenties, were fulfilling their Sunday church responsibilities in music and media and would join me in my vigil later in the day.
There was no longer verbal language. What was left of life communicated itself through shallow breaths and uneasy moans and groaning. He was in hospice care after a short bout with colon cancer which quickly spread to other parts of his body. Death was not coming easily.
He was young: fifty-two. His heart was strong and there was that ever-present will which didn’t want to let go of the security of the known, even if that known had turned into a painful existence.
I lifted a prayer to God. “O, God. May this day of celebrating Jesus’ resurrection turn into a Hallelujah Day of rejoicing for Edgar when he, too, may leave the flesh of earth behind and soar to a place of peace and comfort and reunion with the God of his salvation. But, Lord, if not today, one day soon. Amen.”
Around 6:00 p.m. our children and I were in an outer room when the nurse told us to return to his bedside as he was passing. When we knew he was gone we sang the words and music of Geron Davis, “We are standing on holy ground and I know that there are angels all around. Let us praise Jesus now. We are standing in His presence on holy ground.”
Human life on earth, what is between being born and dying, is an uneasy journey and God only lets us see ahead a little at a time for it would be overwhelming to know the future completely. But this we do know: there is hope for the journey and that hope is in the resurrected Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.
Here are some expressions of long-ago believers’ hope in the resurrection that was fulfilled as recorded in the Gospels of the New Testament: MATTHEW 28:1-20, MARK 16:1-15, LUKE 24:1-53, and JOHN 20:1-31.
However, God’s plan for the redemption of imperfect people goes back even further. Hope for the enslaved Jewish nation is found in Gods’ first revealing of himself to Moses as He tells him, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5 NIV). Why was this ground holy? The ground was holy because God was there.
We are in a time of the highly infectious world-wide Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) when many of us are forced to isolate ourselves for our own protection and the protection of others. In the past we might have sought a holy ground, or a place to experience the presence of God, in our churches, mosques, and temples. Today that may not be possible.
Let me remind you that God is everywhere–not just in a building. My prayer is that we all may find a holy ground in our own lives wherever we are. Find Him and invite him into your heart as you read Scriptures, as you reflect, and as you pray.
Standing on Holy Ground
Connie Carlisle Polley, 2020