“Lord Jesus Christ, make this a temple of your presence and a house of prayer. Be always near us when we seek you in this place. Draw us to you, when we come alone and when we come with others, to find comfort and wisdom, to be supported and strengthened, to rejoice and give thanks. May it be here, Lord Christ, that we are made one with you and with one another, so that our lives are sustained and sanctified for your service”.
From The Dedication and Consecration of a Church, BCP
No doubt this prayer is familiar to the members of Holy Cross who were present on the day each one crossed the threshold for the first time and worshipped in your holy space. Joy mixed with memories of initial beginnings had taken a foothold in your hearts and are now a part of your longer story of an Episcopal Church. Indeed, for some, being on the campus, sitting in ‘your chair’ may be your favorite place where you are most inspired or comforted. Knowing this and our current collective dislocation may be a gift in disguise. For do you have another favorite place where you like to go to sometimes, somewhere that refreshes or comforts or inspires you just to be? Perhaps a park, a road in the country, art gallery, summer get-a-way from it all place, a stretch of windblown open beach. Each of us I suspect has ‘such a place’.
• Where a part of the world is experienced as apart from the world?
• Where we can re-center our attention on what matters most in life?
• Where we get back in touch with some level of beauty, meaning, enjoyment or memory that in most places we aren’t so aware of?
These are otherwise ordinary places where something extraordinary seems to break through. Time spent in such place can have an almost dreamlike quality, as if we were visiting briefly an-other world—where the invisible realm shimmers through into the visible world—where the holy, the trememdum, something “wholly other” seems to approach us when we visit. And to go there is to cross a boundary into a space like, yet unlike, any other.
In such places, we have a brush with God. Such spaces in physical geography open up for us our inner geography, our soul, renewing our place in a Christ-centered world. Our axis mundi, the center of the world, those great cathedrals of medieval Europe; the Celtic religions marked with sacred rings of stones, in the British Isles.
I encourage you to seek these places these next months, even if it’s your back yard or favorite room in your home. Dwell there. Invite Christ. Touch and taste your longings, your thanksgivings and regrets. When we-re-gather, this inner work will be the difference the ‘new church’ that is emerging will need…as will the ‘collective we’. NLJ+