by Christine Sine,
These last couple of weeks have been grueling ones for me. As many of you know, I have been suffering from the worst allergy attack I have ever had, wracked by incapacitating coughing fits that leave me feeling I can’t breathe.
In the midst of this, I find myself drawing deeply from the comfort and support that my sacred space with its circle of lights provides for me. Sitting in the midst of these lights, contemplating my “Time to Heal” garden, reading a centering prayer, sensing the embracing presence of God around me, knowing that I am loved and cared for, has been one of the most supportive aspects of these last few weeks. It makes me realize just how important sacred space is for all of us.
At this season in particular, we all need more time to sit with God and sense the comforting presence of the divine being in and around us. To accomplish this, I encourage you, if you have not already done so, to establish a sacred space for the rest of Lent, a place where you encounter God in special transformative ways so that your Lenten practices enter your heart and soul and transforms us into the people God intends us to be. Those who already have a sacred space might like to revisit it and revamp it.
So take some time to create or revisit your own sacred space for Lent. Here are some possibilities to prayerfully consider as you spend this Lenten season at home.
- Your dining room table. Eating meals is a holy time. Regardless of how busy you are in the week, make time for at least one meal to be shared with others. Believe me, you’ve got time and even with social distancing you can provide a meaningful space in which to encounter others, even if it is just through a Zoom shared meal. This yearlong Lent has made many of us busier, but believe me, you’ve got to make time. And perhaps you can make this a time of reconciliation with those with whom you have been estranged.
- Something you are thinking of throwing out, like my old crosses and palms from last year. Recycled items as a focus for Lent remind us that God is in the business of transformation and re-creation. My sacred spaces always contain recycled items and I love to see these repurposed and revalued items as a reminder of the work God is doing in my life.
- Clean a space for Lent. Spring cleaning was a traditional Lenten practice that symbolized the cleaning of inside and out that was meant to take place during this season. What is one space you have wanted to clean up that you could recreate as a focus for Lent?
- Use colour and texture. The traditional colour for Lent is purple but that does not mean that we need to use it. Perhaps there are other colours, textures and images that speak to you about your own personal need for repentance and reconciliation. Imagine ways that you could use these to create a special place for your celebrations during this season.
- Incorporate images. I have a collection of icons, crosses and other images that I love to rearrange for different seasons on the year. Some have been given to me, others I have created, like my Celtic cross on stone from several years ago. I love to sit with some of these images in front me when it comes time to rearrange my sacred space and allow the spirit of God to help me choose which images are appropriate for the upcoming season. I have found this to provide a very profound experience that nurtures and instructs me throughout the season.
- Bring nature into your sacred space. By now, most of you know that I do not consider a sacred space to be complete unless it incorporates a garden, a plant or even a beautiful photo of a special landscape or flower. As one of the prime ways that God speaks to us is through the created world, I think this is important for all of us to include in our sacred spaces. And one of the advantages is that it is so easy to move plants around or purchase new ones that are in keeping with the season.
- Use your artistic gifts to create something new. All of us have been gifted with creativity and imagination, yet we rarely use it in our spiritual observances. Some of us are unaware of our creativity. Others are unsure how to create with the purposes of God in mind. Prayerfully ask God to stir your imagination to create something that flows out of the unique creativity with which God has gifted you. It could be a poem, a piece of art, a photo, a collage, something you knit, carve or sculpt. Or, it could be an entirely new art form that is uniquely you.
- Design a movable sacred space. Some of us do not have the luxury of a place in our homes we can dedicate to sacred space. However that does not mean we cannot design a sacred space. A couple of years ago I put together a Travel Kit for Sacred Space, a tin with several sacred articles in it that I brought out at each destination to give me a sense of rootedness in the rhythms and practices of my faith. For some that might be a good place to start.
I hope you will take time to create or recreate your own sacred space for the rest of Lent. If you do, I would love to hear about it. Leave a comment below or email me with your ideas and images.
Register and Pay for this virtual Lenten Retreat Experience with Christine Sine and Lilly Lewin! Join live or download later!