Overheard at 5th Avenue Presbyterian last week: “Our sense of sanctuary does not end when our doors close.” Where have you been received, experienced sacred space? As I think back to our very full week of exploration, of seeking the Holy Spirit in New York City, the places where I felt most at home and most welcomed were The Catholic Worker MaryHouse and the Bruderhof house. In these places, we were greeted with warmth, provided with nourishment, offered something to do- a way to contribute, and engaged in conversation. At MaryHouse, even the walls challenged us to think and engage. They were full of pictures and inspiring sayings. At the Bruderhof, the space was so clean and uncluttered, allowing for rest. We contributed to the work of the Catholic Worker as we gathered around a large table and folded newspapers. The table gathering allowed for interesting and family-like conversation. At the Bruderhof, we were welcomed into a beautiful table space for a meal and conversation. After the meal, we helped clean up the food and tote things down to the kitchen. Then, we gathered for circle time- singing and playing games.
Out of the many beautiful and engaging places, these places felt like home. I don’t think I would want to live in New York City. I am rooted in Charlotte, for sure. But, if I had to live in the Big Apple, I could see myself fitting in well with the people on E. 3rd Street or on W. 38th Street. Certainly, we experienced the Spirit of God in a variety of ways while in NYC, but perhaps the most comforting presence was sensed, for me, in the homes of our brothers and sisters who are doing meaningful and disciplined work in the areas of resistance, hospitality, and peacemaking. Thanks be to God for these important ministries of solidarity and justice.