Standing on Holy Ground
The place on which you are standing is holy ground. – Exodus 3:5
Moses must have laughed out loud when the voice from the burning bush told him he was standing on “holy ground.” How could a desert wilderness be “holy ground”?
The same way a hospital room or a graveside can be sacred ground. When filled with prayer and the awareness of God’s presence, even the lonely and scary places of our lives can become holy and sacred.
Nest Sunday, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day. It’s also a National Day of Prayer for ‘Faith, Hope & Life,” sponsored by the Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Across the nation, people of all faiths are invited to join in prayer for persons struggling with mental illnesses and suicide, and for those who love and care for them. As part of the Action Alliance Executive Committee and co-lead for the Faith Communities Task Force, I hope you and your church will also join in.
Depression, bipolar disorder, suicide, or other mental illnesses can make someone feel cut off from others, including God. That isolation increases exponentially if one’s faith community is silent about such concerns. When a church offers no prayers for persons struggling with mental illness (as we do for those with physical illnesses), it’s hard to find the holy ground.
We can break that silence next Sunday. On this National Day of Prayer, let us pray for persons living with mental illness or whose lives have been touched by suicide—and for their families, colleagues, therapists, pastors, and all who seek to help. (prayers, videos and other resources at www.faith-hope-life.org.) Let’s help create holy ground for others.
God, as you came to Moses in the wilderness of his life, so you do the same for us. May our prayers remind others they are not alone and that you make all things holy.
Talitha Arnold is Senior Minister of the United Church of Santa Fe (UCC), Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is the author of Mark Part 1 and Mark Part 2 of the Listen Up! Bible Study series and Worship for Vital Congregations.