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There are currently 70 or so YAV who are gathered at Stony Point Center, NY, for their orientation, before heading out into the faithful adventure that will be their year of service.  And as I look at them – fresh young faces filled with excitement and some anxiety, about to change the world and make a difference in their sites – as I look at them, I can think of one thing: I’m old!

It was more than a decade ago that I was in their shoes! I’m finding it a bit difficult to remember, now, what I was feeling and experiencing in those days leading up to departure. But I do remember one thing, which I was thankful to share with them last night: They, like Moses, are standing on holy ground, being invited and called by God into something greater.

It’s a powerful experience, to be standing on holy ground like that.  To know that they are caught up in God’s embrace, that no matter where they might go, God is already there, and that they will be equipped and watched over on their journey. That kind of comfort is a strength to all who have such an experience, and remains a strength ever after.

But it is also dangerous.  As comforting and loving as God is, to stand on holy ground is to put all in your life that is known and familiar on the altar, and have it completely changed, even taken away.  I would argue that it’s happened, in form or another, to all of us in our YAV years, and perhaps in other places.  To take off our sandals and approach God means that our lives will no longer be the same, and that is a dangerous concept to a society to nurtures status quo and keeping an even keel.

And so I wonder: What of your year (or two) of service helped you to realize you were on holy ground?  How did God call you further?  What of your life before did you offer up, or have changed (whether you wanted it to be or not)?