Monday, December 6, 2021
This Could Be
The Hermit’s Holy Ground,
If One is Faithful
And Ears to Hear and Eyes to See.
Then he said, ‘Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.’
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe.
Words of Grace For Today
It was 2 am, and every sensible person was asleep or working the graveyard shift. Not Porgy. An alcoholic for decades with more than enough DUI’s to prove it, was drinking with his friends and when they all left at midnight he kept up by himself on the way home. At home he grabbed the left over beer and shifted from his pickup truck to his jeep. He set out to ‘run the muck around’ on crown land, except it was a foot and a half deep with snow. The better the challenge and the more fun.
He had toured all through the regular routes and left the run out to the hermit’s place for last. At 2 am his headlights off he winds onto the high road, now no longer on crown land for a ways, and follows the tracks that wind around an old basement filled with garbage and 20 year old trees, past the blocked off road above the illegal campsite sitting just 10 feet from the water of the lake, a road that can still be walked and from which the best views of sunset and fishers are enjoyed and captured by the hermit photographer. As he rounds the old deserted and abandoned camper and add-a-shack for a wood stove he guns the engine to ensure he wakes up the sleeping hermit and 50 yards later drives right through a wire that the hermit setup to slow down quads stealing wood from him. Up in the hermit’s wood yard Porgy’s jeep suddenly dies. It just stops. There Porgy sits, tries to turn the key to start the jeep but everything is black, dead, quiet.
The hermitage is holy ground. (Porgy has forgotten everything about ‘removing his sandals’ or giving God God’s due. God reminds Porgy by disabling his old jeep.)
Porgy has heard the ground is holy and not given it much credence. Now, completely dark, shut down silent, Porgy reconsiders. A light flashes down out of the sky. Porgy jumps out of his skin and prays earnestly for the first time since the last time he was drunk, “God save me!”
God has found a way to ‘speak’ to Porgy, even in his drunken haze.
It’s actually a military helicopter on an exercise, testing electronic surveillance, that God has put to use. Knowing all about Porgy’s DUI’s and alcoholism, the helicopter crew has been following his truck and then jeep for the last half hour, and having heard that the hermitage is holy ground they decide to play a bit with Porgy. They’ve remotely, temporarily shut off the jeep when they’ve known it would be safe. It was a good test of their equipment, logged and certified as effective at 500 metres.
As if in response to Porgy’s desperate prayer, the jeep lights up again. He starts it, and drives out as quietly as he can. Within days everyone hears a version of the story, Porgy’s version, how he went to visit the hermit in the evening and how God shut down his jeep as soon as he got on to the hermitage. He told everyone it must be holy ground.
Within days the military few know a different story, and they hear the story from Porgy. Only a faithful few realize that they played a part in it all, but God was at work. They realize that the hermitage really is holy ground. Humans (from his ex, the girls, the lay-pastor and bishop, the wealthiest people in town, the cops, lawyers, and more than 2 dozen judges) have sought to destroy a good, kind, and honest man, and they have only created a holy martyr, a hermit more safe from Covid than anyone of them, more blessed every day than any of them. Their practice surveillance of the area has long since established the hermit’s hard work to survive, his ingenuity, and his kindness to anyone who treads on that holy ground … and his efforts to save anyone from intruding in unholy ways on the holy ground. Their investigations of records they ‘practice’ accessing for ‘national security’ have given them enough of the completely unjustifiable effort of many different people to financially ruin him, to drive him deep into debt and poverty, and to even kill him … and the hermit’s blessed response of forgiveness to his mentally ill ex and the children and the binding of everyone else’s sins – putting their deeds over to God for judgment and offering them forgiveness if they would only but confess.
No one is holding their breath for that, since all the guilty people think no one will ever know who has done what or how.
But God knows, and a few intelligence people know, and a few honest people who listen carefully, and a whole lot of guilty people know.
That morning at 2 am, the hermit did wake up to the jeep’s engine noise, look out the window, and saw the jeep, and the light. He heard the near by helicopter and then saw Porgy start the jeep and drive away. When daylight came he went out and repaired the wire. All along, as for so many other things, the hermit gave God thanks, knowing that since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, we can give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe.