by the Rev. Scott Brown
My morning routine is liturgical. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I quietly brush my teeth, trying not to waken my wife and sons. I tip-toe to the living room, where I get dressed, carefully putting on all the equipment that is necessary for my adventure and head out the door between 5:28 and 5:32 am. The commute is about 8 minutes long, and by 5:40 I’m just seconds away from one of the most holy parts of my day.
My holy space is not quiet. Actually it’s loud. There is no altar in my holy space, no pews, no crucifix. I am not alone in this place; instead I am joined by 8-15 grown men like myself, all here for the same reason. From the insurance agent to the CPA, from the school superintendant to the real estate appraiser, we all show up faithfully, simply because we love to play basketball.
Holy is defined as “sacred” or “set apart.” My morning basketball game is one of the most holy times of my entire week, and Stuart Place Elementary School Gymnasium is definitely my holy space. I love everything about the game of basketball. I love the teamwork. I love seeing the big picture. I love the competition.
When God first spoke to Moses through the burning bush, God told Moses that the ground he was standing on was “holy ground.” The ground didn’t become holy when Moses stepped on it. The ground was made holy when Moses became aware of God’s presence there. As I recall that familiar Old Testament story it occurs to me that all spaces have the potential to be sacred, not because we enter them or declare them as such, but rather simply because we’re aware that God has been present there long before we arrived. And if God can be present in a burning bush, maybe there is no limit to the places we can experience holiness.
My morning game concludes by 6:45, and I’m back at home at 6:53, just in time to greet my family as they wake up. It’s the perfect start to my day. Having just spent one hour doing something I love to do, I now face the rest of my day with enthusiasm and joy that otherwise would be hard to manufacture. And having just found some peace and joy in an elementary school gymnasium assures me that once you’ve found holiness in one place, you can find it anywhere.
The Rev. Scott Brown is rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in HarlingenTX. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.