On Holy Ground

I thought, growing up, that only special places could be "spiritual," and I was sure that my home ground wasn't one of them—too ordinary. I have reconsidered my understanding of place, however. We live our lives in the material world. The inner journey is shaped by outer ones, by where we place ourselves and how (if) we open ourselves to those surroundings.

How do the landscape, the people, the sights and sounds around us interrogate, challenge, and nurture our faith? Where does our cloud of witnesses reside—an ancestral home, jostling by on the city street, speaking from pages of a oft-opened book, drawing close as a child is wrapped in Great Grandma's quilt? How does God's shaping power of creation linger in objects and soil and how they are used or misused?

The horizon that opens or blocks my view of the universe; the smells of cooking, cut hay, or factory smoke; the way the wind blows in springtime, the sun shines in June; the rhythm of night and day, neighbors' coming and going; the sound of silence, of sirens, of children squealing and laughing: All serve as the markers in my memory, in my heart, for the relationships and experiences that make a place—for a time or for a lifetime—home.

Of course Hebrews 11 teaches that we should be "strangers and foreigners on the earth," seeking a heavenly homeland, desiring a better country. But what I've learned about that country, I've learned here, in my search for a earthly home.

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Sojourners Magazine May 1994
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