First Chronicles 29:10, 11, 11-12, 12
Lately, I find myself talking to God a lot…with an emphasis on “to” God, since I am the one doing all the talking. On the day of the NY plane crash, I frantically phoned my son who recently moved to Queens, New York, to check on his safety. I prayed that the crash hadn’t happened where he lived. A day later, my mom had a heart catheterization. I told God that we needed my mom to be OK – rather than needing another heart surgery. In both cases, my ‘prayers’ were answered.
My relationship to/with God had become, “I need, I want, please help,” especially since September 11th. It isn’t that I believe that God is unaware of my needs until I voice them; I probably need to voice them in order to realize that I need God in my life. But my somewhat comfortable world and sense of God in my life prior to September 11th has changed dramatically. I wanted a sense of peace and calm – a sense of well being within me and in my relationship with my God. Instead, it is a time of insecurity, uncertainties, and a loss of where/how God is with me/us. My familiar sense of the holy in my life, my sacred space with my God was missing…and I didn’t know how to recover it.
Today’s scripture readings address a situation where a holy place, a sacred space has been violated, has been misused, has been abused. In Maccabees, after their “enemies have been crushed,” Judas and his brothers are finally able to rededicate the sanctuary which had been defiled by the Gentiles. In Luke’s gospel, Jesus drives the traders out of the temple, declaring that the traders had made God’s house of prayer into a ‘den of thieves.’
But what does the scriptures say to me today?
I was first tempted to look at the obvious – a place of worship, a holy place, a sacred space, should be honored and respected by all, whether or not they agree with the tenets of the particular religion or faith. So, where are the sacred places that are being abused, violated, and desecrated today? There are many incidences of such violation wherever there is war based on cultural, political, religious, and/or economical differences.
However, closer to home, how might I be responsible for some of the loss of or missing ‘holy places, sacred spaces’ in my life recently? I want God on my terms, with my needs being attended. I was so overcome by loss of control by some of the events going on around me, that I was ‘taking’ control by asking (and even perhaps, desperately insisting?) that God respond to my/our needs as I saw them. Since I was attempting to take on the role of ‘directing’ life – and asking God to act accordingly, I was losing touch with my past experiences of relationship with God in favor of trying to make God be present to me/us.
I’m not saying that I have desecrated my ‘holy space’ with God, but I certainly was turning things inside out…and forgetting that holy places/sacred spaces are where God and I meet in relationship. Prayer is a very real relationship…a ‘give and take’… a sharing of need on my part…but also allowing and inviting God to ‘give and take’ with/in me…be with me, and I with/in God.
Are we called to address situations where sacred places are abused or violated due to warring perspectives? Of course...
However, as we move forward to attempt to right the ongoing wrongs
around us, perhaps it is good that we remain attentive to how/where/when
we are OR are not in relationship/sacred space with our God in our individual
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