I’m a person who often makes an attempt to imagine what life was like “back then”. I grew up in one of the 13 original colonies and now live at the Western edge of the Oregon trail. Frequently I try to place myself back when history was taking place and bring all of the imagination that I can spare trying to place myself and wonder how I would have reacted and what life might have looked like in comparison to the time I was born into. It’s a pretty big stretch to imagine 50, 100, 200 years ago.
Ironic, given my appreciation for history, that I’ve never walked the ancient roads of my faith. I’ve not been to the “Holy Land” or traced the journeys of Paul through the ancient world towards Rome. While I’m sure, and many would attest to this, that it is beautiful … even awe inspiring, I really don’t have a burning desire to go. In fact, I really don’t like the term “Holy Land”. While I certainly understand its use and appreciate its origin, I find that it contributes to the compartmentalization of our faith. It can inadvertently imply that our faith is something steeped and also locked in history … something relevant to then and there, words written for a different place and time and therefore, while quaint, not directly applicable to those who walk our streets.
Its unfortunate because the sacred is not just relevant and relegated to that time and that place. The designation “sacred” is connective to the idea of divinity and divine things. If we believe the ancient basic teaching that the Word (the divine) took on flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood, then it follows that the very streets of our place are connected and therefore can be experienced as sacred. The question is not whether or not the sacred is here with us … the question is how do we experience it? The short simple answer is slowly and with intention. The answers may seem simple, even overly so, but honestly we live neither slowly nor with intention.
The next post will dive into some practical ways to do both … and connect with the sacred in our (your) streets. Preston Pouteaux, in his book “The Bees of Rainbow Falls”, asks the burning question “What if our hunt for true awe brings us to those living right next door?”. I pray that we may find out … that it doesn’t take a journey across time zones and cultures to discover awe.