Over two years ago I was in a church in New York City preparing to join the global climate strikes.
There was a man passing out green buttons that said, “You’re on holy ground. Act like it.” The button was a reminder of God’s words to Moses near the burning bush. It was a reminder that “The universe…shows forth the inexhaustible riches of God” as Pope Francis says in Laudato Si’. (Laudato Si’ 86)
What would it mean to act as if we are on holy ground? We might imitate Moses in front of the burning bush. We can take off our “shoes” by becoming humble, acknowledging our humanness before God, and being open to receive.
Then we can lean in and listen.
Often when we see something burning, whether figuratively or physically, our instinct is to go the other direction. Yet God asked Moses (and us) to do the opposite. To come closer.
And then we are to act, as God called forth Moses to lead the Israelites to liberation. We are called to respond concretely to “the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.” (Laudato Si’ 49)
I reflect on this notion of Holy Ground after hearing the appeal from Ukranian Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk to end the war against his country. He declared that this war was not just a humanitarian catastrophe. “It is an irreversible attack on God’s creation that for decades, for centuries, will be impossible to correct.”
You’re on holy ground. Act like it. Stop this war. For the suffering of the people. For the suffering of the earth.
This Lent may we lean in to listen to the cries of this holy ground and be courageous enough to act. Even if we, like Moses, feel ill-equipped, may we trust in the “I am” who is sending us.
- How might we act differently if we knew we were on holy ground?
- Where around us do we see a burning bush inviting us to “hear both the cry of the earth and the poor” and to act?