Sometimes you feel it in your bones. Sometimes you just know. Your breath slows down. You pause. You feel as though time has stopped. You are frozen in place. You want to stay there forever. You want to feel safe. Warm. Present. Calm. Known.
Sometimes you’re on holy ground.
Now, I am one who believes that holiness can be found everywhere. I believe that all places and times are holy. That the sacred is in our midst if we open our eyes to see it. But, I also believe that there are some inherently holy places. Certain places which resonate so strongly with God’s love and presence that you can’t ignore it. Perhaps we each have our own holy place. A place that touches our souls calling us to come and rest. Or perhaps a certain place can reach out beyond time and space and connect with all who encounter it. I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’ve been in a few places that have felt different to me.
Nothing else comes to mind other than the deep truth that I was standing on holy ground.
Certain places reached into my soul and told me I’d be okay. The ground invited me to rest and stay awhile. The spaces in front of me drew my eyes in so I never wanted to turn away.
Do you know this feeling? A profound sense of holiness on the ground you inhabit?
A glimpse, perhaps, of the kingdom here on earth? A liminal place that connects heaven and earth. A ground not asking anything of us but to be present and loved.
I’ve been fortunate to experience this holiness in the world on a few occasions: As I stared at the monastery in Bruges, Belgium only passing by for a day. Throughout the land of Taize, France where I spent a week worshipping and praying. And finally visiting a family homestead in the Hill Country of Texas.
All different places with no connecting point. They have nothing in common from the outside. Yet, they are all places that touched something deep within my soul. All places visited at different times in my life. All places that invited me to stay for a while. All places that called to me: Take off your shoes, this is holy ground.
When I visited each of those places I could have been at a more receptive point in my life to feel the holiness around me. Maybe I needed to know the peace that they offered. Maybe I was more attune to listening. Maybe I was just searching for something.
When I find myself flustered and frantic, when I can’t seem to sit still, when I fail to feel God’s presence in my midst, I remember those places. I remember sitting, I remember the awe. I remember fleeting moments of being known and loved. I remember the Spirit touching my heart.
If I take a moment and remember, and to be calm, I can trust that the holy ground I walked upon before still lays beneath me. I can feel the blaze of God’s presence. I can open my eyes anew to the stunning beauty of life. I can sit down and take off my shoes.
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, MO. You can read more at her website: http://kimberlyknowlezeller.com or follow her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyKnowleZeller/