Saturday, December 22, 2012

Sacred Space in a Scarred World

When do you know you are in a sacred space? When do you know you are in a evil space? That's what  the residents of Newtown are wrestling with as they slowly begin to deliberated what to do with Sandy Hook School. How does one transform a place filled with ugly memories and violence? How do you "redeem" space?
This morning I came across the reading carved into the stone above that marked the 50th anniversary of Montecito Covenant Church. The text from Joshua 4:6 is "What do these stones mean?" The context of this question is the order from Joshua to 12 men from the 12 tribes to each carry a stone from the middle of the Jordan River, near the feet of the priests were, holding the ark and holding back the waters. They were commanded to set up a stone altar as a reminder of God's activity in the life of Israel, especially when future generations asked "What do these stones mean?"
The community of Newtown will need to grapple for a long time with this question "What do these stones mean?" I am hopeful that they will speak of the selfless sacrifice of teachers and administrators for the children. I would hope they will speak of a world that protects little lives, vulnerable lives. I would hope they would speak about leaders who step forward for the greater good without a political agenda for the next campaign. I would hope they would speak about hope.


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