Not too long ago I had coffee with a friend I’ve known for years. Before we knew each other, we were growing up in the same area of the same state. Both of our fathers were pastors in similar churches, and I’m pretty sure we went to the same youth camp in the summer. Our fathers knew each other from pastors’ fellowships and both had a passion for helping new areas establish new churches. Both served on Boards of Church Extension, my father in our state and hers, eventually, moved to our church headquarters to serve on the national board.
We really became close friends as adults, and that friendship has grown more important to us both over the years. We meet as often as our schedules allow just to catch up and share our hearts. Over coffee that day she said to me, “I’m going to have my grandson for two weeks this summer (He is eleven). I am going to take him to Park Place Church and walk him down the aisle, show him where my mom used to sit, show him the alter and tell him, ‘This is where we pray and sometimes cry; here is where we dedicate little babies and get married and have funerals....’” She went on to basically say she was going to explain the sacred places we both hold dear and the community that has held us both through more chapters of our lives than I could ever share or even explain. Her precious grandson—only one generation removed from the community of faith—had never been inside a church.
That night I could not get her words out of my mind. I told Bill about this and spent a restless night thinking about this little guy and so many other kids I know who are without the safe haven of the community of true believers in this chaotic world. We wanted to somehow share what we were feeling in a strong, maybe even urgent song for families everywhere. Bill came up with the perfect music for the words that were echoing in my mind from the coffee conversation.
We all need a sacred space where our souls can find peace. But we need to make sacred again other spaces for us to dwell as well. Our homes need to be sacred again. Our porches where we talk, the spaces where we work, our bedrooms and kitchens where we make love and share meals: these need to be touched with the eternal and made to be sanctuaries of safety and wholeness.
As I write this, I am praying for a purging of anything that has fallen short in what we call the church. I am asking for healing of our broken hearts and a restoration of a powerful support system of firm believers—the Family of God—full of love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace so that we who claim the name of Jesus can gently scoop up a generation of beautiful kids and their families and love them back to the table where there is already a place set for them. One thing for sure: things will never be right or complete until all the children come home.