Sanctuary: Building Holy Space

The world that we currently live in is filled with opportunities to build holy space. Recently, a handshake took place between a Palestinian and an Israeli leader.  Those kinds of handshakes are impossible to come by, we are told, in political negotiations.  That may be true.  These were leaders of soccer associations agreeing to do all in their power to assure that Palestinian youths who want to play soccer were protected from persecution. That handshake seems to me to be the building of holy space.

Any place that we find routine violence, routine conflict and routine tensions between people are immediate opportunities to begin building holy space.  There are a growing number of articles these days about the work that white people need to do within ourselves in terms of racial attitudes and reactions.   Potential holy space.  As our nation awaits a Supreme Court ruling that may likely bring marriage equality to every State in the Union, we find ourselves waiting on the opportunities to build holy space.  In almost every conflict that I’ve seen between teenagers and adults, the great silent secret on both the adult and teen’s part is that each is frightened and that each is putting on some other face to hide the fear: obstinance, anger, superiority, self-righteousness, defiance, cynicism.  Just one move toward vulnerability would be the step toward holy space.

When we tell our story from deep inside,

And we listen with a loving mind,

And we hear our voices in each other’s words, 

Then our heart is in a holy place.

We have some building to do.  The world can never have too many holy places and spaces. I am pretty convinced, like the character in the old movie, that “if we build it, they will come.”  Taking the steps that holy spaces like this require likely always feel a little scary, but people are waiting on them, and when we take these steps people will respond.  With a little love and a little amazing grace . . .

Bob Patrick

* Verse 2 from “When Our Heart Is in a Holy Place,” Singing the Journey, p. 1008.

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