Rev. Dr. DeWayne L. Davis
“There are not sacred and profane things, places, and moments. There are only sacred and desecrated things, places, and moments-and it is we alone who desecrate them by our blindness and lack of reverence. It is one sacred universe, and we are all a part of it” —Richard Rohr
As we welcome the singers and artists of Beyoncé Mass to Plymouth Church, I have allowed my imagination to run wild about the possibilities that people who attend the performance would re-think worship and reconsider church as a part of their spiritual journey. I grew up in a religious tradition that thought art and music that were not explicitly biblical were theologically empty and, thus, profane. With that easy dichotomy imposed on our imagination, so much beautiful prose, poetry, and music were verboten in the church of my youth. But in the music and lyrics of Beyoncé shared in the context of corporate worship, the lives, bodies, and voices of Black women and other marginalized populations become the witness to the sacred worth of all. It is a reminder that the current church has moved far afield from the approach of the peasant rabbi who pronounced blessings on the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the persecuted, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. So, although I have yet to see it, I sense the sacred in the performance.
I love Father Richard Rohr’s conclusion that “there are not sacred and profane things” and that we are all part of “one sacred universe.” If the faithful could see all God’s children as part of one sacred universe, the church, worship, and the beloved community would be seen, more than anywhere else, as the places that affirm the lives, bodies, and voices of all those who have been relegated to the margins. Can you imagine what the world could be like if we beheld each other with eyes of recognition? Recognition that God is present in, through, and around us; that the Divine spark is always there to ignite the powerful presence of love and peace among us. It means letting that love flourish and inspire transformative change that overcomes hate, venom, and murder that crouch at the door to destroy life. It is the recognition that nobody is ever outside or away from the presence of Divine Love, and therefore, we ought never to be un-reconciled to those who are beloved of God.
So, I invite you to join us in the singing, dancing, worshipping, and affirming one another as God’s beloved as we hear and sing the works of a Black woman exploring her questions, struggles, and journey to wholeness. I pray that the experience will affirm your life and lift your spirit, letting the presence of Divine mercy, love, and grace always fill us with love, compassion, and grace for our neighbors. May it be so.