Sacred ground is dangerous ground. Jesus called us to sacred ground by feeding the hungry, healing the sick, casting out evil, and showing us the love of God. They hung Jesus on a cross. There is no doubt that the work of seeking sacred ground can create conflict and unwelcome change. Sacred ground is hard to find, but it is the work that Jesus calls us to do.
When I studied Church History in seminary, I was dismayed to learn that the Episcopal Church actively supported slavery in the United States. I enjoyed reading about famous abolitionists, like Sarah and Angelina Grimke, but they were the exception, not the rule.
In many ways, the church follows the society. When slavery was accepted by the society, the church defended it. Sometimes there are prophetic voices, like the Grimke sisters, who call us to sacred ground, but prophets are usually rejected. Sacred ground is hard to find.
Our vision for St. Dunstan’s Church is that on earth as in heaven, all are welcome, all are fed, and all are loved. This vision is prophetic. To follow this vision will be to break with society. To work for this vision is to seek sacred ground. We will almost certainly disagree and even find ourselves in conflict as we do this work.
My hope is that St. Dunstan’s can be a safe place where we can listen to one another and speak with love and respect. We don’t see much of this in the world today. The news is full of people taking strident positions, carrying placards and bull-horns. Protest and demonstrations are important, but they are not enough. We have to do the work of seeking sacred ground together.
The Sacred Ground program produced by our own Episcopal Church offers a way to do this difficult but important work. In the context of safe, respectful small groups, we will look at the history of racism in our church and our country using films and readings. The program is designed to offer a safe space to be heard, to learn, and to grow as we seek that sacred ground where we can truly respect the dignity of every human being.
The Sacred Ground program will be offered on Sunday afternoons, from 2-4 PM, starting February 21st. Most of the sessions will be every-other-week. Watch here and in Sunday announcements for more information about signing up and about what to expect in the program.