The cafeteria and gymnasium at DeLong Elementary School is sacred space. By that, I mean it is a place where God is present, day in and day out. This holy presence is evident in the nourishment that is provided to hungry children, in the care that is given to them as they play, in the laughter and energy that bounces off the walls, and in the learning and growing that takes place there throughout the school year.
When we gathered there for worship last Sunday, we, too, experienced God in that space created by human hands. Our being there did not make it any more sacred than it already is, but it deepened our awareness of the connection we all have to God and to each other through the relationships that are formed there. In our singing, in our praying, in our hearing of God’s Word, and in our welcome of Christ in his holy meal, we joined every other child and adult who has been gathered and nourished in that space.
Yes, Christian worship is not the same thing as gym class and lunch hour, but these things do not exist in two separate worlds. When we remember that, we remember how the Word of God is proclaimed every time a word of love or forgiveness is spoken to another person. We remember that Christ is present whenever gifts of grace are freely shared, without conditions and without judgment.
For me, I will never look at DeLong Elementary School in the same way. Having worshipped there, I feel a deeper bond to the other people who gather in that space throughout the week and to the God whose presence fills all of creation!
Pastor Jan Ruud