I recently read Thomas Moore's book Care of the Soul. The part of the book that struck me most was when he wrote about finding soul in the places and things around us. Instead of valuing a thing simply for it's usefulness, buildings and objects have value because of their beauty, their soul, and what they add to the community.
The church building where I do much of my work is an old, stone edifice built in 1924. It was not built with ease of use in mind. For those of us trying do do ministry within its walls it is anything but accessible. One can't move from one room to another without having to negotiate a set of stairs. More than once I have wished we could just tear the thing down and build something new, fresh, and easier to use.
Yet over and over again people from the community remark on the beauty of our building. If we were to tear down this structure, our town would lose a bit of its history, a work of art, and perhaps a piece of its soul.
The other day I asked Gary what he thought of the 'soul' of our church building. He said he thought our building was an old soul that felt under appreciated because the people who use it most are always complaining about it. That's probably true. But I don't want that to be the case, so I'm setting about to find the soul of our church, appreciate it, and maybe even come to love it. Because our value is not just in our usefulness, but in the sacred value of our soul.