Assembly Time 6:
Sometime we do what is right and good in God’s sight, but we don’t allow the Presence of God to fill our hearts, we don’t acknowledge and Glorify God who has called us and led us in doing these things. That is very dangerous. We have been blessed in our ministry and God has allowed us to win victories for our families – and even to reach across the nation and to make an impact on the movement and on the lives of the people, an impact that is much greater than anyone would believe could come from our poor ministry.
Think about Moses, far from his Egypt, where he was a wanted man and his people were suffering in slavery, he saw a burning bush – it burned but it did not burn up. It drew him near to the mountain, where he heard the voice of the Lord. He was afraid, yet attracted. “Take off your shoes, Moses. You are on Holy Ground.
Or think of Juan Diego, his people conquered by the Spaniards, his own temples torn down, his people in slavery. He was drawn to the mountain where he heard the most beautiful music he had ever heard. And then he saw the beautiful lady, the mother of God, and he fell down on his face. It was Holy Ground. And recently, hundreds of years later, I stood there where Juan Diego stood, along with thousands of others who came to pray, to be in the presence of God, safe, healed, beyond the world in the midst of the world.
Holy Ground is space you can stand in, live in, in the presence of the Almighty, as if you were part of the endless ocean, the cloudless sky, and the whole of the earth, all at once, indestructible – but in awe of what is around you.
And on that Holy Ground, in that sacred space, there is nothing that is impure, nothing foul, no jealousy, no envy, no hatred, no fear – except the fear of the one Almighty God. Completely humbled in the presence of whole Almighty – and completely whole, without pretense or lies of any kind.
And this Holy Ground is promised to us by our God. But it does not come unless we struggle, unless we seek the Lord. I am asking you today to accept this challenge to struggle, to seek God in your lives and that is why we call this “An Assembly on Holy Ground.”
We face challenges now, because too often our homes are occupied by jealousy and unfaithfulness and division – and unforgiveness – and this breaks our families a part.
We face challenges now, because too often our communities are occupied by empty violence and self-righteous division and greed – and this breaks our people apart.
We face challenges now, because the government is occupied by a demon of hypocrisy – and the protections we have won for our families are not being given to everyone.
When we face these challenges – when we seek to occupy our homes with love, our communities with unity and the government with justice, we need the power of the Lord with us: we need to feel like Moses that We are Standing on Holy Ground, on His ground, where his love and his justice are all powerful. For as Jeremiah spoke to us today from scripture, The Lord’s House, His Holy Ground, is a place where only justice is allowed to stand.
When we face these challenges, our power actually comes when we ourselves are transformed from within.
When I lived on the northside, I once rented a house. I paid my rent to the owner and I knew him and trusted him. So I invested labor and money in fixing up the house to make it a home for our family.
But one day, I found that the house had been sold to another owner. No one had told me. My rent had been going to this other owner for months. And then he came in and told me that I had to move. He deported me from my home.
We live in a world which is created by God but which is ruled by the arrogance and corruption of men. The hatred and greed that come from the devil have taken ownership of the world we live in.
God calls us – and God leads us – to take back his house. He works with us and through us.
He calls out to us, “Occupy your home with love!”; We acted as if this was our home. We worked for it. We paid the bills. And then jealousy and unfaithfulness and anger began to tear our family apart. Then one day we turned around and found out that the devil owned our home. God says, Take it back: Acknowledge that it is My Home and it will be Holy Ground.But on Holy Ground, you take off your shoes. You don’t say things in anger. You don’t dare to insult or disrespect the House of God.
He calls out to us “Occupy your community with unity!” We act as if the neighborhood belongs to us. We divide it up by blocks and by streets and claim it. Then one day the police come in and arrest us. We thought we knew the owner but when we forgot him we found out someone else owned the neighborhood.
God calls out to us: “Occupy this government with Justice!” We fought a battle this year against the hypocrisy of Obama’s broken promise. We struggled, in faith, and God made him concede to give protection to many of our families. But don’t act like you now can rest, like you know the owner will let you live they way you want. For we find that Homeland Security is not giving the relief we won unless we fight for it, case by case. This nation does not yet belong to God. It is occupied by a demon of hypocrisy. It is not yet Holy Ground
God is with us, but when we do not acknowledge and Glorify Him then we do not bear witness to God’s ownership, we do not declare with power that this is his creation, that this is Holy Ground. We cannot stand on his Holy Ground unless we are willing to transform ourselves. He will not let you stand on Holy Ground if you violate his laws and disrespect his presence.”
This is not an easy battle, for as the Bible teaches, our fight is not with flesh and blood but with princes and principalities.
In the scripture today we read how Jesus called a demon out of a man. The demon had made the man violent – towards other, but also towards himself. The demon made the man cut himself and bang his head against the wall. Jesus made the demon tell him his name and the man said “My name is Legion”. Now “Legion” was the name of the units of the Roman Army. You see, these poor people were occupied by the Roman Army, oppressed by the Romans, and that oppression, that living under evil and living under injustice, weakened them and let the demon take them over and make them self-destructive. The demon told them that they were nobody, not citizens, not fully human.
That demon that was called Legion is today called the demon “death.” There is violence in our streets. There is violence in Mexico which is joining and growing with the violence on our streets. When a people are powerless, when greed has so disorganized the economy that you cannot make a living legally, than a culture of crime rises up.
Life is not valued by the powerful and the greedy, and life is not valued by the culture of crime. The demon says “there is nothing to live for, so live for the moment and accept death.” Some people worship this demon – they glorify the streetlife. And they destroy their own lives: What the rich and powerful would do to them they do to themselves. And that demon doesn’t just affect the young gangsters. It can take over ownership of any of us when we give up the struggle for our families, for our people, for the destiny and purpose that God gives us.
It is easy to say that we need to glorify the Lord in our homes, our communities and in this nation, to let the Lord work through us to make these place Holy Ground, but it is not so easy to change ourselves. Yet if we don’t change ourselves, than we will not be allowed to live on Holy Ground and we will lose the battle.
You don’t get that demon of self-destruction out of you without a battle. It takes a spiritual battle but it takes more than someone saying a few words. You need more than the Name of Jesus – for even the Demons said the name of Jesus.
You have to be willing to struggle to walk in the footsteps of Jesus: to serve your family and your people, to love even those who hate you, to put aside lust and greed, to live like Jesus.
And you have to be patient with each other and stand by each other when one of you is in this battle. For none of us are free of this struggle. Families don’t become healed just because you say some words or snap your fingers. You have to learn to love and to forgive and to change and to be patient with each other in each other’s struggle.
Sometimes that spiritual battle is very hard –and sometimes demons attack you just when you think you are doing good, doing better- because you fail to give Glory to God and you think too much about yourself. And when the battle gets hard – then, then, you pray and sometimes God says, “where have you been? Where have your prayers been before today?”
Satan is called the great decievor. Once you have been awakened from the sleep of ignorance and you understand the wickedness of this nation you cannot go back. Satan will tell you that yu can just forget about the struggle and the faith and you can just hide from the world and find happiness. But you can’t hide from Satan anymore than you can hide from your own breath. You m ust face the reality that the fight for personal peace and love in a relationship is doomed to fail if you are also not a part of the struggle for our people. Listen to the ministry of Jesus – we are not making this up.
Now Jesus had spent months gathering up the people, teaching them, healing them and helping them to drive out the demons that had come into them. He had been helping them with their faith and gathering them up. And then he marched with them into Jerusalem and occupied the temple, the place of power and government.
You see, that was the ministry of Jesus.He didn’t just go around and preach personal transformation – though he did do that. He joined and led the struggle to drive out injustice and hypocrisy from the lives of the people because that is what God requires.
First he drove out the corrupt businesses that were in the Temple, just as he drove out the demons – you see he was fighting more than flesh and blood. Then he brought in the poor to occupy the temple. Then he raised up the voices of the children.
And he made the temple Holy again, He made it Holy Ground, like the ground that Moses stepped on on the mountain…..That was an occupation!
We know about occupations in our movement: When Elivira went into sanctuary that was a occupation. But I remember before that, when she went on a hunger strike on the placita here in Pilsen. And the people gathered wither in prayer day and night for weeks. And a messenger came. He was an old polish man dragging a suitcase behind him. He came and said, “The church should teach the people History. This thing which ishappening here, this is closer to God than the church.” Yet it was only when he began towalk away and then suddenly disappeared that we recognized him as the Pope who had reently died, the leader of the Catholic Church who had died and come back to give a sign that God was with us in our faith!
You see that was a sign from God, that was an intervention from God and it made us know that we were on Holy Ground!
We have had many occupations, and when these occupations worked it was because the occupation was faithful and the people were faithful to the Lord and the land that was occupied became Holy Ground! When the disciples came back to pray, after God had saved them from the authorities, they felt the Holy spirit, they felt the ground shake.
What did that mean? Did they think it was an earthquake?NO NO NO. When the earth shook they knew that the earth they were standing on was God’s creation. They didn’t pretend they owned it. They didn’t make themselves self-important and fight over it. They took off their shoes and stood on Holy Ground – and no one dared to touch them!
We call this Assembly Today an Assembly on Holy Ground ! And our challenge for the year is about to begin.
We will begin on December with the Novena for Family Unity Novena and for a Holy Family Christmas, without separation of children from their parents.
And we are organizing the struggle to make Obama meet his promise.
We have a teaching in this ministry. Some may not like it. Some may criticize it. But it a teaching that comes from the Bible and from the Holy Spirit.
If you want to drive the demons named Legion or named Death from yourself and your home, then you have to struggle to drive the legions from your land and the hipocrites from your temple. And if you want to live on Holy Ground then you must live a life of justice. You can’t drive wickedness from the world that oppresses you unless you drive wickedness from yourself and your family and your community – and you can’t drive wickedness from yourself and your family unless you are in the struggle of your people for justice.
The power to transform injustice comes from the struggle to transform yourself and the struggle to transform yourself comes in the struggle to transform injustice. That is the teaching of Jesus – that is the road that leads us to stand on Holy Ground! That is the teaching of our ministry.
Let us Pray…
SCRIPTURE FOR ASSEMBLY 6:
ASSEMBLY ON HOLY GROUND
L. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
P. When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush,
L. “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”
P. “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
Jeremiah 7:2-7 “Stand At The Gate Of The LORD’s House And There Proclaim This Message:
Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD. This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!” If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.
Mark 5:1-17Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man
They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
Matthew 21:10-16 Jesus at the Temple
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers. The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise ?”