Holy ground is a real thing | Lawrenceville Daily Record
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Holy ground is a real thing

Posted on July 28, 2020

Church News

As a pastor, I get three Sundays off a year. Those three Sundays are precious to me, because I get to attend a worship service simply as a worshipper with no leadership responsibilities. Sometimes the church my family and I attend on vacation is one of the churches of our parents or a friend’s church, or simply our best guess on where to worship while we are travelling. What I want on those Sundays is to keep God central in my life through the practice of worship, hear his word read and proclaimed, and to simply be in the presence of some of his people, for he is there in the midst of them.

Two Sundays ago my family and I were with my in-laws, and we watched their church’s service online for health reasons. It was a good service, and online worship is a necessary means of worship for many of us, but it lacked the dynamics of actually assembling in a sanctuary as the recent pandemic shut-down proved to us all. This last Sunday we attended a friend’s church in person with all of the social distancing and mask requirements. Even with those hindrances, actually being in a sanctuary was deeply satisfying. There is nothing else like that.

Where does that desire to be in God’s house come from? The Psalmist wrote, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God” (84:1-2). When you long for God, you desire to be in sacred spaces where he is honored, worshiped, and loved. There is such a thing as “holy ground.” Then there is the command we read in Hebrews 10:25 about “not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,” which presses believers to be regular in assembling for mutual edification. These two reasons and many more show why Christians react so strongly against restrictions being placed on their public worship. It is not just about the loss of constitutional freedom, but also about losing the unique experience of meeting with God collectively on holy ground.

I am grateful that my church met online when we could not meet in person, and still offers that option. But there is no equivalent to physically assembling. Thanks to this pandemic, we see this more clearly than ever. Let’s cherish every opportunity we have to assemble for worship.

Russ Veldman is pastor at Lawrenceville’s Free Methodist Church. He has been a resident of Lawrence County since 2013.

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