Showing Up to Our Sacred Spaces

November 8, 2019

The #MyWheaton blog shares first-person stories from Wheaton students and alumni.

Showing Up to Our Sacred Spaces

In this MyWheaton blog post, Delaney Young ’20 shares about her experience growing and learning alongside the college’s chapel band.

There is something sacred about familiar spaces: our favorite and most frequented cafés; our childhood houses; our dorm rooms and desks; even our go-to grocery stores’ bread aisles. So often, our concept of “normal” is shaped by the rituals and routines that take place in these spaces. And in my personal experience, wherever normal is, sacred is always trailing close behind.

Over the past three years, my Wheaton “normal” has fleshed itself out in a patchwork of places, but Kresge—the multi-purpose room at the end of that long, windowed hall jutting out from the side of Edman Chapel—has been maybe the most formative of all of them. It’s there that I practice each week with my chapel band. The room is remarkable for neither its aesthetic nor its amenities, but for the kind of welcoming space and holy ground it has quickly become for my band and me. This room is actually where all three of this year’s chapel bands practice, and where bands in past years have practiced, too. It is where so much of my spiritual formation and breakthrough happened sophomore year, when I served on chapel band as a synth and keys player. Kresge was then, as it still is now, a place for me to meet with God consistently by way of meeting with His people consistently. How a once-a-week time commitment became the Holy Spirit’s scratch paper, I can’t fully articulate—2 hours on Thursday night each week was apparently enough time for God to start showing me His work in my life.

Delaney Young Chapel

More than anything else, I have learned the hard and infinitely humbling discipline of “showing up” from my experience with chapel band. Showing up to a space, committing to participate in worshipful routines and rituals there alongside other equally committed people (whether that’s a band practice, a Bible study group, or even a book club)—this is what God asks of us. God appoints every single one of us to be leaders, disciples, friends, and spiritual family so that we can help usher His work into each other’s lives through the holy habit of noticing. This should be the common routine and ritual among every single space we enter: as disciples, we are constantly learning how to notice more of what God is up to. We show up, and God shows Himself, too. 

Our Maker does not expect us to be constantly conjuring up revivals or causing demons to tremble with our instruments and worship music; sometimes, I don’t think He even wants that. That is the kind of work that He engages in on His own time and in His own ways. Our vocation as leaders, and each of us is a leader in one sphere or another, is to show up. We are charged with the simple and behind-the-scenes duty of consistency, of providing time and space for God to be noticed. What if we really absorbed that reality, that when we show up, God might show Himself too? There’d be no wonder why familiar spaces felt sacred.

Learn more about Wheaton’s Worship Arts program and opportunities here.