In the first year of the ruler Cyrus of Persia, Adonai –fulfilling the word spoken through Jeremiah – inspired the ruler to issue a proclamation in writing throughout the land. It was written, “This is the proclamation of Cyrus, ruler of Persia: Adonai of heaven gave me all the realms of the world, and God has appointed me to build a temple for God in Jerusalem in Judah. Whoever among you belongs to God’s people, may Adonai be with you! You can go home again.”
2 Chronicles 36:22-23
The place where the mortal and the eternal comingle is sacred space. It is the place of coming together between we who spend life and the One who is the source of life. Its contours are shaped by promise and potential. Sacred space is where I emerge from my self-concern and realize the presence of Another who informs my life with tenderness and challenge. Once sacred space is formed it is a loss to move out of it and back into the realm of isolated, singular existence.
For those who celebrate the source of life in Christ, the promise of sacred space is explicit upon his lips: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst” (Mt 18:20). The emphasis falling on community as the needful ingredient for the formation of space: two or three gathered.
The Chronicler ends the Tanak, or Jewish scriptures, with a call to create sacred space. Here the space is identified with the Temple in Jerusalem. What defines this space is not simply the location but also the call to be community with one another.
The call is to band together and to travel out of the lands of dislocation. To travel home where who we are and what we are were birthed and nurtured. The call to sacred space is the call to move from exclusion to acceptance, from fragmentation to wholeness, from the margins to the center.
The New Revised Standard Version renders the closing sentiment: “Whoever is among you, let them go up!”
We who are queer, faggots, sissies, dykes, freaks - if we are ever to feel that we belong we must go up. If there is to be a proper sacred space, an appropriate meeting of Creator and creature we must go up. Without us humanity is incomplete. Any effort in building a house of God will suffer and the house will never be whole. We are a part of the two or three.
Let us throw our lot in with all of humanity. Let us go up and add our sensibilities, our experiences, our hopes and dreams to the great house of God. Let us be a part of this world with its joys and delights as well as its insults and rejection.
We have been called. We are needed. Let us go up!