United Church of Christ

Discovering the Sacred

This past Sunday,  I went back to the church I served for eight years. It was their 150th anniversary.

Mimi was able to join me. She doesn’t usually travel with me, but for obvious reasons she wanted to come along on this trip.

From the moment we arrived on Friday afternoon, until we left on Sunday afternoon, we were flooded with precious memories of a time that proved to be very dear to us.

During the worship service, I was invited to reminisce. Not wanting just to rehash stories with little point to them, I framed my words around one simple notion: where did you experience the sacred here among these beautiful people.

I played over and over through my head times when God was unmistakably present while I was with them. Once that notion occurred to me, I discovered that it wasn’t hard to play back in my head all those times that were so precious. They could not grant me nearly enough time in worship to exhaust the list of stories that came flooding back to me.

There was the time Whitney came to worship for the first time. As a three year old child with little inhibitions, and with a piano accompanist who came out of a Baptist tradition, when the music started playing she left her pew and started dancing. We all felt the same thing – she just found hadn’t yet taught herself to be restrained in the presence of God and, like David in the book of Kings she just began dancing.

There was the time Herb, with a broken hip at 83 and told by his doctor he would be dead in three weeks, woke up revived in body and spirit in a hospital room on Easter Sunday and said to his friends in the room “Two days ago they thought I was dead – but today I feel I have new life again. I feel for the first time in my life God has a purpose for me.”

There was the time I went with Lou took me with her to the hospital to meet her  husband, dying slowly and suffering from Alzheimers. She was so kind and patient with him, feeding him and talking to him and listening with patience as he forgot everything and got lost on all the details of the stories he was telling and hearing.

There was the time the youth went with me on a mission trip to the inner city of St. Louis. They arrived on a Sunday afternoon so filled with terror about where they were that a couple of them got sick eating at the Taco Bell that first afternoon. After a week in mission with the children at the Day Care center we served, they left in tears trying to say goodbye to a place they found hard to leave.

There was the day David, a young man with a developmental disability, was confirmed. Instead of writing out his statement of faith, he came forward with his father who asked him three questions: “Who is God?” “God made me.” Who is Jesus?” “God’s son.” And what do you know about God and Jesus?” “They love me.”

As I mentioned Sunday morning, I could go on – but time, space and the circumstances warrant I don’t.

You get the point, don’t you? We find our sacred in the precious moments shared with God’s beautiful souls. We all carry within us the power to create moments of beautiful joy and ineffable wonder in the every day, ordinary moments. Every encounter with another carries the possibility for something sacred to emerge.

I invite you to walk with eyes wide open. I invite you less to look for the sacred in the ordinary than to accept it when it comes. These moments are neither anticipated nor manufactured – but they are easily missed.

May there be joy abundant for you on your walk through this world. And may your own spirit be open to accepting the beauty of the sacred on this, your journey Into the Mystic.