Event Space

Altar of Mary Magdalene in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Altar of Mary Magdalene in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

It is the season to reserve space at LPTS. Campus organ-izers and -izations have until the end of May to stake claims to the various spaces on campus for various events to be held during calendar year 2010. Once that date is past, the space may be reserved by off-campus groups or others wanting to use the spaces on campus for other purposes — like the chapel for weddings, or the elegant rooms in Gardencourt for receptions. If appropriate reservations are not made by the deadline, event planners may find that someone else has already begun to fill the space with their own dreams and plans.

The deadline forces us to think well ahead about the program of the Women’s Center — what we’ll be doing a year from now, or 18 months from now. And of course, we know some of those things. We know we will be thinking about another V-Week, and about another Transgender Day of Remembrance, and about another Katie Geneva Cannon Lecture (this time, thinking about it for a month in the fall of 2010, rather than the spring). We know some of those things, even though we don’t know everything that will arise, the various unexpected opportunities, folks who will be passing through and ask for time to share with the community, and so on. We just hope and pray that the space for whatever will arise will be open when the time comes.

Thinking about space just now, as spring is budding and blooming all over our area, has a kind of rightness to it. We set aside the space, make the space, a time on the calendar and a place for something to happen, right at the beginning of an event; not much else happens before we establish that detail, make sure our plans have a place to go.

Sometimes, it will happen that an event affects all the space around it. If someone reserves Hundley Hall, it affects everything on the first floor of Gardencourt. If something is already planned for the Winn Center lounge, it might wreck some plans for the McAtee Dining Rooms before they even get off the ground.

This has me thinking about the spatial dimension of Easter. We churchgoers and Bible readers and Christians have probably heard a fair amount about “the empty tomb” over the past week or so. Jesus’ empty tomb was the first phenomenon that signalled resurrection, however the various theologians among us want to understand resurrection. The first witnesses to resurrection — famously women, famously thought by the other disciples to be talking trash (and can we not hear Mary Magdalene saying “You know, when I said exactly the same thing, no one listened, and now when one of the guys says it . . .”) — were witnesses to empty space that was supposed to have been full, open space that was supposed to have been closed off.

From the space and events perspective, it’s as if an event that had been announced, dooming every other nascent plan, blocking every other possibility, pre-empting the entire space of life, had been suddenly and definitively cancelled, and all that space was released, opened up, for something else to take place, for new events to happen into.

That’s kind of thing that makes a person reserving space say “Thank God!” breathe a sigh of relief, . . . and begin working out what we’re going to do now.

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