Sacred space matters to us, God: land on which to set our feet, a dwelling to call home. Our souls are drawn to "thin places" - places where spirit and element mingle more easily; places where the veil is torn from time to time.
We climb mountains to meet you. You find us in the grotto, or at the mouth of the cave. We hide in the crevice of the rock to catch a glimpse of you as you pass. A bush bursts into Spirit's flame and we take off our shoes. An angel wrestles with us in the night and we walk wounded into the sunrise. We build altars or shrines to mark those "thin places" of encounter. We build a temple and you invite us in.
Today, we look across the garden to a house made holy by the longings and sacrifices of our forebearers who responded to the call to build a sanctuary and symbol of shalom: "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God."
This building is not that building. But this center is a place that tangibly expresses what was envisioned in sacramental moments in that House of the Lord.
This, too, is your place, God, and these are your people: generous givers, creative planners, dedicated workers, people with a history, people in mission, people seeking identity, people longing for your presence in a world that so easily forgets, people still believing the dream that brought other pilgrims to this place 175 years ago.
We dedicate this place to your will and work and wonder.
We dedicate it to the man who spies the sign on the highway and decides he's got thirty minutes to look at a piece of history and continue his search for places not seen before.
We dedicate it to the busload of Restoration movement sojourners on their way from Vermont through New York, then onward from Ohio to Illinois, Missouri, and Utah.
We dedicate it to the child who sees an artifact or hears an anecdote from history that sparks her mind and stirs a longing in her heart to find in the past that which can help her understand her life and her times.
We dedicate it to the solitary wanderer aching for a sense of the sacred when so much of his own life is what he now considers profane.
We dedicate it to the pastor who needs a sabbatical place where she trusts the Holy offers forgiveness, healing, and courage.
We dedicate this center to the small rural congregation searching anxiously for assurance that God still has a calling for a dwindling and aging membership.
We dedicate this center to the large suburgan congregation seeking clarity of vision and renewal of conviction about its mission to its neighbors at home and across the globe.
We dedicate it to the honor of those who built the temple and we dedicate it to generations not yet born. We pray future visits to this place will help shape their lives into the practices of peace.
We dedicate it with hope to purposes and possibilities not yet envisioned by those who dreamed of and built this center.
We ask you to accept this building as a gift of generous response, God. And, with your acceptance:
We consecrate it as a center of hospitality. To anyone who walks through these doors, may they know us as a welcoming, open-arm, open-door people. May they know they are valued and worthy and loved.
We set this land and building apart to help shape our identity as Community of Christ. May this be a place where we share our faith story openly, honestly, and graciously; a place where we offer lessons from our historical journey to guide our feet toward tomorrow.
We consecrate this center as a place of encounter with the Holy Spirit. We know the temple was built for spiritual empowerment. We know it as a place of Pentecostal encounter. May this be a still-point on the Way, a transformative center, a place of silence and beauty and communion with Mystery, a place where followers are formed into the likeness of Christ.
We consecrate this sacred geography and architecture as a place of holistic formation. May it be a shaping place, a studying and practicing place, an integrating place where wholeness of spirit and body takes on form in incarnational discipleship. Draw us here to be deepened and healed, named and remade. Send us out from this place spiritually and physically empowered to embrace the mission of Jesus as healers and formers of sacred community.
In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.
- David R. Brock, presiding
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