Hope in Unexpected Places

While eating dinner a while ago, the TV was tuned to Katie Couric as she hosted the nightly news on CBS. I get depressed watching the news. It covers domestic tragedies, reveals a higher body count in the war with Iraq, and reminds you that eating anything that tastes even remotely good will eventually kill you. I don’t think Katie Couric tries to depress me on purpose, but she always does anyway.

Looking at the state of the world, it is hard to see traces of hope sometimes. It is even harder to see glimpses of goodness and grace. I have been dwelling on this idea recently and have come to the conclusion that maybe it’s not that goodness is missing from the world, but that maybe I and others are simply looking in the wrong places.

There is this idea prevalent in Christian circles that God resides more inside a church building than he does in a mall or movie theater or truck stop. I have heard people say something, only to hear someone else say to them that they should not have uttered those words in church, implying that it wouldn’t matter so much if the words were said in the parking lot.

One of my favorite men in Scripture is Moses. I love that God called someone who didn’t really want to be called, who fought God so much of the time only to be used greatly. I love the verse in Exodus that says, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

The only thing I can think of that made the ground holy was that God was there, speaking to His servant. I believe that God speaks to His people wherever they are, making any ground where a believer steps holy.

So what does this mean, that all ground is somehow holy? I think it means that even though there is terror and tragedy in the world, there is also beauty. There are glimpses of God even in awfulness. I think it means that believers must realize that the Church is not a building, but is people. Church sanctuaries are not the only places that contain God; belief otherwise results in never seeing him outside those four walls.

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I have encountered God in parks. I have met Him at coffee shops. I have seen His reflection in a dark movie theater. I have felt Him while driving my car. I have known His presence by turning the pages of a novel. God is everywhere beauty is, and beauty makes things holy.

God appears as often in churches as he does in elevators and hospitals. He is in the faces of people I love just as much as He is in the faces of people I don’t. He is in the art of believers just as much as He is in the art of those who don’t know Him at all.

Might we take off our sandals more often and take a look around us. May we kneel, in the midst of a confused, broken world and rejoice in the beauty and holiness our Creator allows us.

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