The work of people of faith, whatever our religion, is not found within the walls of our house’s of worship.
On Saturday, the 13th of August, 2011 I was ordained a priest in Christ’s Church. Because the parish where I have been called to serve is built next to the busiest freeway in Austin Texas, the ordination service the background rumble of traffic lay unmistakably behind every moment.
Sometimes engine brakes from the big trucks send cries of metal and hydraulics through the stone walls and glass windows. Sometimes the pitch of traffic increases, sometimes it slows and idles. But it never stops. While we stand still for a moment the world rushes around our little island, in a great hurry to be anywhere but where it is at the moment.
As I knelt, listening to Bishop Todd chant the invokation of the Holy Spirit, and feeling the presence of presbyters arrayed behind me, the trucks sang their own song, a constant reminder that the world doesn’t end at the doors of this place, but begins there. In the overwhelming rush of Holy indescribable, in that silence after the invokation, the noises of the world made our silence deeper as they called.
Sunday morning, as I broke bread with my new community for the first time as one of their priests, the call of the world still echoed through the stone, it still set the glass shimmering. It crept in around the organ, slid under the doors, and puddled in the aisle. Hear it called, the work is here.
Often we call the world in, inviting and hoping that it will grow still and calm and take its place in the pews. But the world that rushes by around us has less need to come in, than for us to come out. Out into the noise, the mess, the chaos, the hurt, the joy, the complicated creation that is knocking, always knocking on our holy places. Not to come in, it isn’t ready for that; but for us to come out.
Creation, our sisters and brothers, is calling in words they do not know because they have not yet learned the language of the Holy, for all of us–whatever our creed or belief–to come out. To come out and teach with loving hands the shape of the letters that spell holiness; to come out and teach with gentle words the names of holiness; to come out and join this world that needs to be shown its holiness.
Years ago, when I visited this little place I found the hum of cars and trucks just behind me distracting and annoying. But today I hear that same low rumble, squeal, shriek, and hope it will never become so familiar that it fades to noiselessness. For it is our call, people of God, come out.