For the last few months, and probably continuing well into next year, I have been living a in Dave Matthew’s song. Where are you going? (I supposed it is better than living in Gravedigger.) I am in my final year of seminary, and the question one receives at this time is different than when one is finishing undergraduate work. When nearing completion of an undergraduate degree people ask, “What are you going to do?” but everyone already has some idea what a seminarian is going to do, so they want to know where we are going to do what we do.
The safe answer is to say, “Wherever the Lord leads me,” while adding some statements about one’s desire to go, or stay, in a particular geography or ministry type. It is not a cop out answer. We have stories from Abraham to Paul of people receiving guidance from God to go to a particular place. We want to find the place God wants us to go.
Miecea Eliade speaks of space (places) in The Sacred and the Profane. For a Christian “the earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Ps. 24:1), thus any place is a space where one can be with God. At the same time we recognize special places where God has made himself manifest, Mount Sinai, the temple mount, the mount of transfiguration. New churches with Millennial Generation members often prefer to reuse old church buildings, rather than build something new or remodel an abandoned strip mall, in order to connect with old sacred space.* Eliade points out that even completely secular people have vestiges of religion when places are special to them, the first foreign city they visit or where they fell in love. For a Christian, these personal sacred spaces may include places such as where we got saved or buried a loved one. Those places become holy because, like Jacob at Bethel, we met with the sacred.
Where am I going? I will go where God will make himself manifest to all and will personally meet with me, to a sacred space. Perhaps that is some place new. Perhaps it is the same places I go every day. I do know where you go is where I wanna be – Dave Matthews
©2011 Paul Tillman