From your lofty abode you water the mountains; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work. – Psalm 104:13 (NRSV)
Why is the song, “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” so popular? Is it because we are spiritually starving, spiritually thirsty?
How many of us hold a grudge against God for not existing? How many of us are spiritually fuzzy and unsatisfied? Did we need all those sociologists to tell us that we didn’t like institutional religion and its boots in the ground, stuck in the mud of tradition? Have we not noticed how cluttered our sacred sites are, with leftover Sunday school materials, older Bibles and older people?
Clutter is a universal sign of stress; it’s a trigger. It means we don’t know what to do with our stuff. Or—in sacred spaces—with our God. We live in a time and in places where God is not satisfied with our work.
Why do people love a pilgrimage, a vacation, a walk on a holy path or to the 9-11 Memorial? What do we dislike about a stuck place, a static place, a place where we can’t move?
What if we’re frozen or fighting or fleeing when we should be flocking?
What did Peter Drucker, the great management consultant, mean when he told corporations that culture eats strategy for breakfast? Is it church if we sing “head shoulders knees and toes knees and toes?” Is it church when you play the calm app on your iPhone? What in the heavens is church anyway today?
O God, we didn’t mean to pour concrete over you. Declutter us spiritually please. Let us be pilgrims again. Please pour heavenly water down on us and soak us into spiritual satisfaction. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Pastor at the Orient Congregational Church on the far end of Long Island, New York. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.