Monday, December 14, 2009

Holy Ground – Christopher Beatty

The below is the text of an e:mail that Chris Beatty sent this author on December 15, 2009, telling in his own words how “Holy Ground” was written (in 1982). Enjoy! I was a young pastor in Southern California on vacation with my wife, Carole, in San Diego. As was my practice I started my day with some Scripture reading, singing and exploring song ideas. Exodus 3:5 jumped out at me as having a profound meaning, not just for Moses, but for us all. "Do not come any closer," God told Moses. "Take off your sandals, for you are standing on holy ground." Two things immediately hit me: First, we should approach the Lord with deliberate preparation; Second, because He is everywhere we go, we can always expect a holy ground experience. There are four verses to Holy Ground, though they are not always all sung. The first verse sets up the premise that where we are, He is: This is holy ground. We're standing on holy ground. For the Lord is present, and where He is, is holy. The second verse engages us physically, acknowledging that all we do can be holy works: These are holy hands. He's given us holy hands. He works through these hands, and so these hands are holy. Verse three addresses our words, one of the most challenging areas of all to keep under His guidance: These are holy lips. He's given us holy lips. He speaks through these lips, and so these lips are holy. As this third verse repeats I like the sing the last phrase using the word "sing." He sings through these lips, and so these lips are holy. The fourth and final verse reminds us that were it not for his gift of life and time we would not exist: This is holy time. He's given us holy time. Time is His, and He's given us this holy time. Holy Ground as been sung around the world for 30 years in gatherings large and small. It is often used as congregations dedicate new worship spaces as well as in weekly worship. My prayer for us all is to remember the reality that God is in us, and around us and ever will be. See the following websites for singing advice from Christopher Beatty, who is a vocal coach – a guy who’s still behaving like he’s on holy ground, and therefore deliberately preparing others to be in God’s presence with their lips and voices.

No comments: