Holy Ground….in my living room
That Friday afternoon we sat there on the couch.
The old leather one with the tear in it from its previous life in the home
from which it had been donated.
“Bible Man” played in the back room for energetic little boys who love a good battle. Meanwhile, Mommy and Miss Sandy engaged in their own battle. Before carpool pick-up and busy schedules resumed, we paused our full lives to…pray. No hooping and hollering… No bold declarations… Just humble pleas to the Living God to produce Holy Spirit life in us and in the lives of our neighbors. We prayed what He prompted. We prayed the burdens of our hearts. We prayed the vast needs we see before us every day. And as we sat there we prayed for that little room… The one that holds nearly thirty kids every Sunday evening for a Bible lesson and worship. We prayed that it would be holy ground….a place of discipleship. A place where young minds and hearts can be opened to the truth of God’s Word. A place where children can learn what it looks like to walk with Jesus. A place where kids learn how to call out upon the name of the Lord.
Well, God answered our prayers…for two days later that leather couch was crammed with little bodies. Five new kids from the neighborhood had showed up that night, giving us 34 kids to wrangle. We paused from our normal chapter by chapter study of the Bible to examine the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose life we would be celebrating the next day. Right as we were getting into the “why” and “how” of the Civil Rights movement, a teenage big brother showed up to pick up some of the new kids…I told him he’d need to wait because we were just getting to the best part. He might not have realized it, but he was walking into a pre-prayed-for situation.
“What motivated King to do all that he did, even when so many people were threatening him?”
“Peace!!” one kid chimed.
“Well…sort of, but do those things have the power to keep someone doing something….. even when his home is getting attacked and his family is getting death threats??”
The kids were stumped…
“What is sitting in your laps??”
The kids looked down at the Bibles that lay open.
the lights began to come on.
“Because of the Bible?”
“YES!! So, even though society was saying that Martin Luther King, Jr. and all black people were not as important as white people, he read something different in God’s Word…
He read of a God who created man and woman special.
“Do you know why we are more special than animals or apes?”
“We’re made in his image!!” blurted out the kid who once had sung a class rap about it.
“And if God is passionate about equality and about loving your enemies and about peace, and about His image bearers having the right to flourish and prosper, then guess what happens when a man, or woman or kid, gives Himself over to God to be filled by Him and used by Him?”
The kids were surprisingly silent…
“He puts those same passions in their hearts.”
“Do you know who is the greatest example of this?”
“Martin Luther King, Jr!!!”
“Noooo….someone far more perfect than Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Someone mightier than Moses.
“Yes! Jesus, is the only one who was totally filled with the passion of God without the selfishness of the human heart. And you know how we know this?
Jesus always loved, always served, always put God and others before Himself. He never fought back when people lied about him, betrayed him, and hurt him. He had asked the Father if there was any other way for God to save his people, because he didn’t really want to have to be tortured and crucified. But God said that it was the only way to clean out people’s hearts, so that God’s heart could come and live in selfish people. So instead of running away or fighting back, He obeyed God. Right to the point of being tortured and killed and facing the punishment we deserved.
And because He rose from death…He.is.still.alive. And He comes to live in His people through His Spirit (Acts 1:8, John 14:16).
The SAME God who sent His Son to die for black people and white people and tan people, was the same God who filled Martin Luther King, Jr. and used him to change the course of history in America.”
“And you know what is so exciting?”
“And He wants to use you to change your neighborhood, and your country and your world.”
And then the knees of all those wiggly bodies (which had been remarkably still that night) got down on that living room floor, and those kids invited the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Martin Luther King, Jr. to come into their sinful hearts, give them new hearts, and fill them so that He might use them to bring about His heart for the world.
And Big Brother, over there in the corner, just thought He was stopping by to pick up kids…..not walk into a revival.
Little did he know he had stepped onto holy ground.
Ground where immeasurably more could happen…
For what could happen if thirty kids in my neighborhood were filled with the Word of God and filled with the Holy Spirit and that Spirit started doing His work…His work of holiness in them and through them….
then we might just live King’s dream, the one he envisioned, prayed for, and labored after…
a life of love amongst kids of all beautiful and varying arrays of skin tones
…and socioeconomic backgrounds….educational backgrounds
….and religious backgrounds.
And all these kids
might just start receiving from God their own dream from Him…for their own lives and influence.
And the dream could start to emerge on this ground…
this holy ground of a prayed-over living room.