Place matters. “We locate the Holy Presence concretely on the earth. ‘The place where you are standing.’ Yahweh says in Exodus, ‘is holy’…Steeping ourselves in a place, simmering in its bounties, celebrating its wonders, and loving its peculiarities are necessary steps on a spiritual journey.” Our experiences do not happen outside of geographical places—place shapes our identities, the way we think, and the way we live. Our faith is grounded in places and spaces that continue to hold meaning for us, thus they become sacred because of the experiences associated with it. I cannot think of my home place without thinking of the willow tree in the back yard where I spent hours sitting in the crook of its branches in silence. Going home has become a pilgrimage for me as I ramble through old neighborhoods looking for the familiar places and spaces that gave shape to my faith.
Christians make pilgrimages every year to Jerusalem, Africa, and Rome—places that are foundational to our Christian roots. St. Francis of Assisi used the term “follow the footprints of Christ” to describe his rule of life – to imitate Christ as he surrendered to God’s love. It was an effort to follow the gospel and to align his faith with the call of Christ. We are on a daily pilgrimage. We don’t have to travel to faraway places to honor the sacred presence of God in our midst. Our homes ,our work places, and the cars we travel in daily are sacred places – if only we have eyes to see and hearts to comprehend the presence of the God in our midst.
Listen to Rev. Tom Harris describing how he and his congregation are walking the path that Jesus walked. Walk in the footsteps of Jesus with them to experience the powerful meanings embedded in the sacred places treaded upon as he journeyed to the cross. The video can be found at: https://youtu.be/S0vimIBtJwk
(Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat)