I pray that when this month’s Preston Hollow Advocate gets hung on our door, we are standing in line checking out at Central Market at Preston and Royal. I pray we all feel a sense of nostalgia when we feast on the samples and buy Pam’s Pimento Cheese.

Central Market is a metaphor for the many spaces in our lives that we are beginning to re-enter. It is a familiar space, a routine, a reminder of where we have been, a physical marker of the weekly, sometimes daily, ritual of seeking nourishment.

I’ve been surprised over the past several months by the low-grade emotion that has lingered just below the surface of my daily life that finds me when I walk back into ordinary buildings. As I have entered these familiar spaces, I have been overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude, grief and happiness.

It’s been true for our community of faith in Preston Hollow as well, and I imagine it’s been your experience. As we have welcomed people back to our church campus for worship, I’ve heard the common refrain over and over again, “I didn’t know how much I missed this place. I didn’t expect to feel so emotional when I walked into the sanctuary. I needed this more than I thought.”

It turns out that space matters. We knew that all along, though suffering has a way of revealing what has been true the whole time. The wisdom tradition of our faiths tells us that truth over and over again. It’s why in our sacred text, we read of our ancestors in the faith who are called to build sanctuaries, construct temples or raise Ebenezers. In our faith traditions, we know that physical spaces matter because they are a symbol for the space we are to make for one another, and it orients us toward the interior temple held within ourselves.

As we re-enter familiar spaces, I pray we will re-enter them with a new awareness of the space we create for one another. I pray we re-enter them with a sense of newfound gratefulness. I pray we will come to recognize the gift of time it takes to construct buildings, but also new life and new awareness.

Love and light to you,


Rev. Matthew Ruffner is the Senior Pastor at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church. He is a husband to Sarah Ruffner and a father of two. You can follow Matthew on Instagram at @thisismatthewruffner and visit PHPC.Or go to watch the church’s live stream and listen to sermon sand churches listed here. For information about helping support the Worship section, call 214.560.4202.

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