Sun, 17 January 2010
Last Sunday on the church calendar was called Epiphany. It is when the church typically celebrates the story of the magi and their journey to see the new born king of the Jews. An “epiphany”, which literally means “a showing,” happens every time we realize that we are standing in the presence of the Holy God. What I had hoped to do in my sermon was to introduce my 2010 emphasis. I wanted to lay the foundation for a year of sermons. In 2010 I plan to used texts from Genesis to Revelation that point to Holy Ground and what the realization of that has meant and should mean to believers. Today we begin with Genesis. Genesis 2:1-3 Holy: Is found throughout the pages of the Bible. Its meaning is easily defined. Holy is “sacred.” which brings me to my point that “holy” holds more meaning for us than definition. Things that are holy hold for us a sense of awe that is difficult to define. As in the story above, the completion of God’s labor is crowned with a rest declared by God to be “holy.” God creates the holy. It is not the work of humanity. If God made it, then it must be holy. Holy Time: I find it interesting, that the first time we find the word “holy” in the Bible it is not used to describe God or anything else on earth. Instead it is used to define time, or is it time? Did you notice that the description of the seventh day does not have the phrase, “And evening passed and morning came,” defining the day? The phrase is found as a formula describing each of the previous six days. Does that mean that the evening did not pass nor did the morning come? Maybe, it simply means that the Sabbath of God is a “heavenly experience,” a true “epiphany.” 1. God Creates the Holy. God created it the beginning and from the beginning and that is why and how we can claim the Holy in the first place. 2. Humanity Betrays the Holy. Humanity betrayed their relationship with God and therefore forfeited their right to the Holy Ground. You can see it in the story of Adam and Eve in the garden, Cain and Able, and countless other stories of throughout the Bible and repeated in our lives. 3. Worship Claims the Holy. Worship is how humanity reestablishes their broken relationship with God and how they are able to claim the Holy Ground. That is what happened with Cain and Abel. God wanted Cain to know the way of Holiness. Abel found it and Cain rejected it. Enoch walked with God and God took him (Genesis 5:21-24). Here is a brief story of someone who was so close to God that this world lost sight of him. The flood came to destroy but Noah found grace in the sight of the Lord and was able to build a sanctuary for himself, his family and portions of creation. He exited the ark and established an altar. Worship is how believers claim the holy. 4. The stories of Scripture invite believers into the Holy. There is a reason we call this book the Holy Bible. Yes, it is the collection of written materials that Christians call sacred. That is how we define it, but it holds far more meaning for us than just that. The words of this book have a way of bringing us to a realization of the presence of God the Father, Son and Spirit. The words of this book make it possible for us to stand on holy ground, again and again. Ephesians 3:12 In 1979 Geron Davis was 19 years old. His dad was the pastor of a congregation in Savannah, TN that was building a new sanctuary. Geron’s dad asked him to write a song for the congregation to sing on their first day of worship in the new sanctuary. On the Saturday night before the first worship, after everyone else had left, Geron sat down at the new piano and thought of what the people would want to sing on that occasion. He says the words came faster that he was able to write them down. In less than ten minutes he had written the words to We Are Standing On Holy Ground. And so are we when our worship brings us into the presence of the ever present God of the holy.