The Episcopal Church of St. John Baptist 200 Main St., Thomaston, Maine 04861
email@example.com (207) 354-8734 Sunday Services are at 8 am and 10 am
Office Hours: Tuesday through Friday 8:30 am - 12 noon
There is a time and place for us
By the Rev. Peter Jenks
There is a memory I have of being backstage at a play in Watts Hall in Thomaston, when I looked out and could see behind the wall of scenery as well as what was going on onstage. Behind the set were two young people kissing, and in front were the actors performing their parts, just feet apart. It was a brilliant moment of life captured in my minds eye. There have been many more memories at plays and meetings in that hall that have made it a very special and sacred place in my life. There are other sacred places for me as well; the lake house my grandparents had, where the family always gathered; the hallways of the hospital where I have walked thousands of times; or roads where I know every tree, and many more that are no longer there. Sacred places abound in our lives, our Churches and Temples are the reminders of all of these places and symbols of the sacredness in our midst. They, too, are also places where we hold our common place of the holy where grief, joy, sorrow, intimacy and longing merge.
There are also sacred times in our lives, whether it be the time when we eat together, or have still moments of reflection and meditation; times when we are able to feel free to wander in our thoughts and emerge in new places of understanding. Taking time to pray, read, and reflect help us to process what has happened to us. Enough time alone or in quiet reflection with others is what can help us move from the wounds and pains of life, where vengeance or animosity can grow, to a place of healing and forgiveness. It is in our encounter with time that the working of healing can be found, whether in the exercises of physical therapy or the continued recitation of prayer.
It is only in time and space that the experience of faith, the understanding and relationship with God can be found as we live out our mortal existence. Otherwise, the stories of faith, the intricacies of God, the understandings, theologies, philosophies, and structure of religion is only an idea. It is in time and space that we are able to experience the magic of a good book, or watch an entertaining movie. It is in the smallest details of the world around us that we find gateways to much larger truths and understandings. It is in the shared experience of time that love moves from just an attraction to a long and deep commitment and intimacy. It is in the rapid movement of time that we realize how quickly life passes, especially when we see someone we knew as a young child suddenly become a parent in what seems a blink of an eye.
When we think of religions, faith and God, we oftentimes discuss ideas or stories of others long ago, whom we have never met. We might imagine a building, but oftentimes we get lost in the world of ideas and ideologies. If our faith and religion is only ideas and concepts then it is easy to expect everyone to have the same thoughts, or agree together, then we are one, and in the same group. But true religion and faith is grounded in the time and space of our existence. It is why the efforts of coming together, of having places to go, people to spend time with and an awareness of where we are is so vital to our understanding of that which is holy. It is in the simply moments of offering help to someone near us, or in our need of help and the action of others to reach out to us.
We maintain our church building, not simply because it is a holy place itself, but it is the place the reminder that where we are is holy. We gather to worship to connect again and again with our immediate world, where the divine mystery is also present. And in gathering in a local place at a specific time we move from a virtual or simply intellectual idea of faith to the experience of truths anchored in a time and place.
When we come to the story of the resurrection, it was in a time and place. It was not just an idea shared. It was in the common experience of community, love, loss, death, grief and intimacy with what people came to know as God over time and in the places where they lived that faith was born. The story of Easter continues in the Jerusalem of our own town, and in the pilgrimages of our own journeys through time.
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