Sunday, December 9, 2012
A Holy Place
Last night I went to a holy place. I was not expecting to experience such a strong sense of the presence of God when I left home to visit the garden at the Michael Guido ministry in nearby Metter, Ga. Though he died at age 94 in 2009, Michael Guido is best remembered for his "Seeds From the Sower" ministry. Each year the ministry sponsors "The Night of Nights," using the appeal of Christmas lights to attract people to a garden where the message of Jesus is proclaimed in a most unusual way. When my youngest daughter ask us to go with her and our youngest grandson, I thought it was just going to be a Christmas light extravaganza and it was with an estimated 2,500,000 lights shining in the darkness. Not being a real fan of looking at Christmas lights, I went mainly to be with our grandson a little longer.
I had hardly settled into my walk through the garden when I started sensing that I was walking in a place that was both peaceful and holy. The lighting accented Biblical stories like Noah and Jonah, but mostly it was about the story of Jesus. Scenes took visitors from nativity to the tomb. As I walked mostly in a silent reverence, I wondered what caused the place to be experienced as such a holy place. One possibility which immediately came to mind was the praying of Micheal Guido. But, then I noticed that the garden was immersed in the Word of God. People were stopping along the walk to read markers which had Biblical readings such as the Beatitudes, the 23rd Psalm, the Ten Commandments, and the Parable of the Sower. There were also places for hearing the Nativity Story and the Resurrection Story. It was a garden which encouraged visitors to read the Word of God. The Word simply was hanging in the air at every turn.
We sometimes forget the inherent power of reading the Word of God aloud. It reminded me of a staff member at Richmond Hill who by her invitation and example initiated a ministry of reading the Word from Genesis to Revelation in the sanctuary. For almost a year staff members would go in the sanctuary, read aloud a portion of the Word, and mark it for the next reader. It made a holy place even more holy. Imagine. You and I could read the Word aloud into the world from where we are. Imagine the difference it would make.