This Sacred Space 13


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The temple was a poor simulacrum: a drab, putty colored standard hotel meeting room. Thin walls were decorated with the slicing grooves of the dividing elements that could partition the room from one to two. Round tables draped with the easy to wash silkiness of polyester filled the low-ceilinged space on the ground floor. No windows showed us the high white clouds or the shifts of the breeze through the limbs of myrtles on the other side of the wall. We had our own time, created our own space.

The priests were not dressed in linen raiments, were not enrobed in meters of cloth, did not process like a chain of connected, bobbing heads muttering the Lord’s Prayer. Instead, they came, in ones and twos, each with her own expectations and her own fear. They came in cute skinny jeans and cute yoga pants. They came in cute leather jackets and cute dresses and cute everything. They came with one hand on their hearts and one stretched out open, ready, needy, willing.

Friday night cracked wide our glittery walls; moments of connection took us from tentative strangers to fast friends. We sang, we prayed, we talked and we ate. We took the mundane and made it communal, imbued it with purpose with the intention of our words. Before the night was over, and I removed myself to the relative obscurity of my hotel room, I had grasped fingers, I had touched the arms, I had laughed and been moved by the wisdom and beauty of these women.

When I stood before them to talk about lies and truths and how we can crawl into Him like an astronaut might climb into his suit (thank you, Daniel May), I knew them. I knew their hearts and I called them friends. I was floored, flummoxed, flabbergasted by the raw pain they shared when they told this disparate group the lies they believed for years. My heart ached and I felt a little like the Grinch whose heart grew two sizes; they honored me with their secrets, they honored each other with their trust.

Sunday rolled in quietly and the saints came again, a smaller group, a quiet group. The glittery, perfect walls we shine to the world cracked wider then. Sickness, death, fear, poverty and pain flowed out. But it did not flood the room. The sorrow did not overtake the space. The saints rushed in, with hands open, scooping out the yuck and spilling in their love.

I had not come with my arms out open wide, ready. I had come blank. I did not know what to expect. I did not know this group and I did not know how they would receive me. I had come willing to drop back into the dividing walls, willing to step back, out of, away from, their intimate sharing. But those wily church women; they do it every time. They woo me, and I was drawn into them.

Soli Deo Gloria, hosted and led by the lovely Jen Ferguson easily exceeded my expectations, (since I had none). They taught me to raise my bar and to expect a little more. And a little more. And a little more. These priests in running skirts and yoga pants, these seemingly normal priest mothers and wives called me into them and made me love them.

More on my experience at Soli Deo Gloria on Thursday. Shoulds, Justs and Enoughs.


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13 thoughts on “This Sacred Space

  • Nancy Franson

    Good. I was looking for a recap. “We took the mundane and made it communal…” Lovely.

    And, I am in such awe that you can use the word simulacrum in a sentence.

    I thought/prayed much for all y’all while I was in my own sacred space. Hoping to glean more from others who attended.

  • Tammy

    Jennifer, “surgery girl” here. lol…I wanted to say thank you for your message. The things you spoke of are the things that have held me captive for all the years that I can remember. God is using your words…I am wrestling with them. What happened on Sunday morning was a shock to me. I couldn’t believe that even after I told about my past and present that people would touch me, much less hug, embrace, cry with, and even kiss my face…thank you for your words and your note. I have a lot of work to do, but just maybe the exposure of my “lies” to the light will make some difference. Many blessings to you and all of the sisters who were there, Tammy

      • Tammy

        Hey Jennifer-typing one handed bc of wrist injection (yowza!).pls don’t think twice about that it really was funny and in some ways really is ridiculously funny.it is just that when i am down or overwhelmed or discouraged i hide it by smiling and “laughing” about it all.i do have a sense of humor, just has been too much to handle for too long. So.pls know i really did think that was funny!

        Would love to keep chatting too email is: tram56@att.net. Hope this is the right way to reply. Let me know if u get this

        Tammy

        _____

  • pastordt

    Ah, beautifully done, dear Jennifer. Thank you for this good word, and good reminder of the priesthood-of-yoga-pants (or, in my case, sweatpants!). It is so important to acknowledge and experience that rich fellowship. Looking forward to Thursday! (And I’m with Nancy! Simulacrum? Geez louize, that is impressive.)

  • LoriAnn Hahn Lavallee

    This is Annie’s friend from Regents. I love my astronaut. And you write (and speak) beautifully. Thank you for sharing a table with us and of course God’s wisdom through your lovely imagery. Looking forward to reading your book. Maybe one day you will read mine (my secret gift God has been calling me to use). It is so wonderful to know you and call you Sister.