Sacred spaces, sacred ground...where are they, what are they? Native American soil, land where indigenous peoples have co-existed with nature for centuries, a mosque, temple, shrine, or church? A still woods where one may feel intrusive just stepping on a twig, an early morning beach where waves are gentle in the waking up, a crystal-clear mountain stream meandering its way to greater waters? Pondering these thoughts, I say yes, to all of them.
Most certainly there are those places that inspire awe, take our breath away, almost require one to bend the knee in reverence. Yet the notion that spaces sacred can be seen in only what are human limitation views as perfection, or that the worldly and mundane have no business being labeled sacred, seems to me, short-sighted and out of focus.
I think, too, it can be a smelly barnyard stall, where bloodied hay gives witness to new birth; a dirty alley where one homeless person shares a meager food find with another; a filth-filled street gutter where the Mother Teresas of this world cradle the least of these. It's inside the prison walls, the homeless shelter, at Fellowhip meetings, at the bedside of the dying, the place where one supports the mentally and emotionally ill and dementia resident.
It's easy to feel a place made holy when beauty, gentleness, serenity, tradition and reverence are real and palpable to our senses. Perhaps not so much when our vision is accosted by gruesome and painful reality; when our hearing is interrupted by moans and cries, and true stories that will break the heart; the times when a smell causes one to gag or cover his or her nose and mouth; when the reaction is to recoil and not touch the dirty one or surroundings.
The ground, the space becomes sacred, I believe, when you and I see Jesus in the other, when we love neighbor as self. It's anywhere, that by God's grace, your heart and mine, are moved to see, to create, even the smallest of miracles, the liminal that is transformative.
In humility, realizing that God is Creator of all, may we be attentive to the "ground" upon which we walk, where our footsteps takes us, and honor the opportunity to enrich the kingdom.