|Sunrise in Seabrook, TX|
Curiously, sacred spaces are geographically specific though anything but bound.
Where are the sacred spaces on your journey? The sanctuary where I was baptized and spent many a childhood morning in worship. The woods of church camp where I spent summers as camper, counselor and director. The walk from my dorm to the church I attended in college. The Dandenong Ranges outside of Melbourne, Australia where I began my seminary studies. The pulpits I have been honored to fill during my ministry, from White Oak to Edwardsville.
I have more sacred spaces than I expected. I’ll not bore you with the comprehensive list.
What are the important features of your sacred spaces?
Experience of faith community in that place at that time? The spot of a great awakening in your soul, heart, mind? Geographic context which cradled the creative creature that is you? A glimpse of God incarnate in your midst? Holy meets holly bush?
Sacred spaces are those places where we are more likely to experience the holy and profound.
Fascinating how often in the Bible that God calls us to attend to sacred spaces. Asking us to build a simple altar of stone or an elaborate temple or a nomadic tent scene - God invites us to participate in creating sacred spaces.
Equally fascinating how rarely we are able to manufacture sacred space. Ever try to force the moment? Attempt to compel God to show up or your own soul to listen? Maybe it is that not every location fits your journey? Maybe God wants to meet you in the places where you can be most present with God?
There are amazing private sacred spaces! Aren’t most communal? Even the hermit like places include the large community in prayer and hope. We chose the communal places for our special sacred moments - weddings, funerals, baptisms, baby dedications, etc.
The picture is of one of a sacred space found during my sabbatical in July 2014. Seabrook, a suburb of Houston, TX. Sipping hot tea in the humidity and watching the sunrise over the gulf before beginning my trek north to Illinois. Having just spent the week in silent retreat and a day in conversation with my good friend, Michael Dunn, I was blessed to pause. I thought of those fishermen who dropped their nets to follow Jesus. I thought of those I knew who made it possible for me to have sabbatical. Mostly, I felt the warmth of the sun and listened to God.
May you find many sacred spaces on your journey and share them well with our fellow travelers.