Over the last few days there has been an interesting discussion on my previous post Creating Sacred Spaces: Do We Really Need Churches? which has raised the question for me, and obviously for many others: What is a sacred space.
The forest one day and the café the next, from a mountaintop sunrise to the neon city lights; they do compliment and complete each other. Sacred is where the soul goes, not just what is there as prior.
Sacred is where the soul goes. I love that expression. A place is not sacred because it is set aside for the worship of God. Nor is it sacred because it is constructed specifically to glorify God. A place is sacred, ground is holy because we encounter God there. Think on Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush. This bush was not unique, it was probably identical to many other bushes in the area. What made it special was that God was revealed to Moses in that place.
Sacred space is where we intentionally move towards an encounter with God. Moses could have kept on walking and ignored the bush, just as we so often do today when God appears in unexpected but ordinary places. It seems to me that we have confined sacred experiences and holy ground to church buildings that God never really wanted anyway. I love a couple of the suggestions that have been voiced on my previous post:
I do remember as a youngster in Chicago, some of my favorite things to do would be to go to those parts of the city where most would not. Have you ever experienced taking a date to go sit on the curb in a lesser part of town and discuss life with the local denizens? This too was holy ground at those times.
We can even extend that now to include other ethnic groups, other cultures, other nations. Though it may not be a face to face experience; when dialoguing with friends all over the word, finding new experiences through their thoughts and expanding my mind with different ideas,makes my computer one more holy place.
So what are the unexpected sacred places in your life? Where do you encounter a special relationship with God and what are the activities, experiences and conversations that make it sacred?
My favorite places are the yard. I love praying as I weed and I love the pictures that come to my mind from the Word……I love the whole pruning back, picture, did that to my thyme plant, which looked like it was dead, and when I cut it back there underneath the dead part was brand new little leaves poking up through the dirt. I love being on a mountain, or even in the valley, I love that the mountains cry out there is a God and how majestic he is, and yet in the stillness of the valley, you can almost reach out and touch him…….
Some of the same experiences I enjoy Morag. As for you God is very present for me in the midst of creation
He truly is and I love those times, but equally I love when our home is still and you are praying and you know that his presence is filling the whole house…….. I love praying over rooms especially if we have houseguests, and they end up sleeping soundly and peacefully……
A beautiful idea
I LOVE this article. It is so “outside the box.” It shows us that God is not limited to the four walls of a church. God has so many places in which to meet us.
Thanks Karin. I think that our God is a very “outside the box” God. We are the ones who create the boxes and try to stuff God into them
Guests around the table, prayers of gratitude lifted, beautiful food and time to sit and converse while alert to Jesus’ presence among us…. Cool breezes, doves cooing and the village awakening in the early morning…. Listening intentionally and prayerfully to another’s story…. Times of solitude in community with prayers rising like incense to the throne of God….
Amen – I think every meal can become a sacred space and your imagery of the village awakening certainly makes me want to come and enjoy the presence of God there with you.
These special places don’t replace church fellowship and communion or good ole hugs, but they surely evoke prayer, meditation, and poetry. Most of the poems in my book Living in the Nature Poem came from quiet moments on our deck, which overlooks a small lake surrounded by woods and wildlife.
Thanks Mary – sounds good