Jonathan is a Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) spending his service year with Greater Indy Habitat through the Presbyterian Church (USA). Learn more about the YAV program!
In my previous post, I discussed the practical value of working alongside people from different backgrounds as a way of pursuing our Biblical conviction in learning how to “maintain constant love for one another.”
As I write this post, I sit on the other end of that work. The house is complete, has been dedicated, and will soon become a home. I’ve had the opportunity to see and hear the process of its construction from beginning to end. I’ve had the privilege to hear how people have reacted to it. And now I have the responsibility to share that experience – to describe what we’ve created together, beyond just the physical homes, or even the hope for a stronger, more unified image of God in humanity.
Today I want to share about the sacred perpetuity we found – the sense of eternal value we experienced through the work we shared, the time we spent, and the place we made.
At an interfaith discussion I recently attended, we focused on the concept of sacred space. We took time to learn from one another and pursue the various avenues that led to what each of us understood of sacredness. We discussed how we honored that understanding, individually, collectively, and cross-culturally. It was a beautiful conversation, and it challenged and invigorated my thought processes in some wonderful ways, but it didn’t quite satisfy my personal relationship to what I hold as sacred.
The discussion focused on sacred space, but what I find equally important, and perhaps more significant in my own experience, is sacred time. The word sacred is defined as “set apart,” but how are we to know what to set apart in order to create or perpetuate that sacredness? All too often, we find ourselves attacking one another’s deepest religious values, simply because of our misunderstandings on how to approach sacredness. I believe we are called to set something apart, or hold it as sacred, when we find connection to God through it. Otherwise, this setting apart becomes entirely meaningless, and potentially dangerous. However, it can be a struggle to know whether something actually provides connection to God in some manner, or if we just want it to do so. In my life, I hold my most sacred things in this way because of their ability to tap into eternity; because of how the impact of the time or place that surrounds it becomes eternal in the instant it happens.
And while that sure sounds cool, I admit it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I think that sacredness, because it is “of God” in that weird, infinite/inconceivable way, is a real bear to try to understand – much less discuss in practical terms.
But I can say this:
What we’ve done through this Interfaith Build is sacred. We set it apart, because the impact it has for Rapheal and Brittney, the homeowners, is too massive to describe. We set it apart, because the way we were able to come together and complete the Image of God in our unity and service is too holy to understand fully. We set it apart, because the understanding and love that was able to grow for one another there is too profound, and too vital in our efforts to further the Kingdom of God here on Earth, to put into simple human words.
We set it apart, not from one another, but for one another, and with one another; because it is of God, it is eternal and incomprehensible, and it is very good.
The work we shared, the time we spent, and the place we made is sacred. The thing that matters now that this project is done, is to continue. Let us continue building homes, let us continue to maintain constant love for one another, and let us continue engaging in this sacred perpetuity.