The fire-fueled destruction of Notre Dame Cathedral this week (and the rapid raising of
1.3 million dollars to repair it) has me thinking about the importance of “sacred places” in an increasingly secular world. Write Sarah Smarsh shares this about her childhood Kansas prairie church:
Even on a humble patch of flat grassland, there’s a recognizable energy field inside a place designated for speaking with God. How could there not be in a building that has contained so many prayers and songs, so many tears over dead farmers in open caskets, so many smiles at crying babies with holy water running down their cheeks?
I’m of the mind that, if some mysterious force can hear what’s in our hearts, it can do so whether we’re kneeling at St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City or pumping unleaded gas at a convenience store in Duluth. But historically it’s been churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques where we meet others making their own vulnerable attempts at faith — and let them witness ours. As society becomes decreasingly religious but no less concerned with the big questions of existence, where will we find those shared spaces of reverence?
I bet a lot of UU’s would echo Smarshes beliefs that the Sacred can be accessed at “St. Peter’s Basilica or pumping unleaded gas at a convenience store in Duluth.” But there IS something special about a physical place that has been the site for so many people in
their vulnerable attempts at faith, at being the best version of themselves, at coping with tragedy and transition; the site of so many songs, tears, funerals, and smiles at crying babies. I think this is why over the past decade or so, this congregation has put so much energy into preserving and beautifying our church campus; it’s why so many of you have shared generously to get a new roof for the sanctuary and build a kitchen for our community.
In this times of political polarization, climate catastrophe, growing wealth inequality, we need shared spaces of reverence more than ever– places that call us to our best selves, welcome our whole selves, and build a “we” out of the “me’s” so emphasized by consumer culture.
I look forward to worshiping with you this Easter Sunday: The Usual and the Profound–It was in going to perform the usual burial rituals that women myrrh-bearers discovered Jesus’ empty tomb. On this Easter, we honor the profound encounters we can have in midst of the usual. We will do our annual Flower Communion ritual, so please bring a flower to church! Worship leaders: Rev. Darcy, Sharon Arpoika, and musician Jorge Torrez with guest musician Firefly Walters.