Monday, February 4, 2013

Finding Sacred Space

How do you define Sacred Space?  Is it in the church sanctuary? Could it possibly be at the altar which was intended specifically to create sacred space? Many consider a mountain top to be sacred space. For others, like myself, sacred space may even be found on a river.

Sacred space signifies separateness or distinctness from the ordinary, or the “profane.” God is called the “Holy One,” a term that denotes His absolute “uncommonness” to all human experience. Times and places in which God appears to people become holy simply by being places of divine encounter.

Sacred Space should be Transformational.

As part of my reading through the Bible in a year with a young adult study group, I am in the process of reading about the Israelites wilderness experience, the construction and rules around worshipping in the Tabernacle, and the challenge of being transformed into the people of God.

This was especially true in the Old Testament as the displaced people of Israel tried to make sense of their new lives and the possibility of being led by God. It was clear to the Israelites that Yahweh was not common. The people were to treat anything associated with God unlike anything in the everyday world. And yet, God offers to come into our everyday lives to make what has been separated from divine intention and transform and restore us into his image.

Transformation is an ongoing process.

Sacred space it seems might be created by God to help us experience the divine in new and significant ways. It may also be created by us in an effort to search for God, to experience the divine on a regular basis.

In his book “Why Jesus?” William Willimon offered an insightful perspective on this transformation. 
Jesus tends to come to people where they are but rarely leaves them as they were. Conversion of thought and life, a whole new world, is part of the adventure of being loved by Jesus . . . 'If anyone is in Christ - new creation!' That's bad news for those who are complacent with the world as it is; good news for those who think that they may have been created for more than merely present arrangements.”

Sometimes Sacred Space comes in surprising ways.

Jesus created sacred space around the table for a diverse range of people. There were the obvious choices he made by inviting some of the religious leaders, friends and family. But most notably, there were the marginalized. The people that were invited didn’t seem to fit in; certainly not at a table with God. 

Jesus’ table was a place where the marginalized could experience the divine in a very personal way. Stone Soup is just such a place for our community. It is sacred space created for the restoration and transformation of a diverse group of people that have come to God’s table.

How have you created Sacred Space for yourself?

Have you created Sacred Space for yourself to experience the divine on a daily basis? Maybe it is a special time and/or place for a daily devotional, Bible reading and prayer. It is critical for our lives as Christians to spend time creating space to experience God’s presence. We often find ourselves lost in the wilderness with no hope of seeing the Promised Land and our Sacred Spaces give us healing, hope and time to reflect on a path forward.

I encourage you to find the time and space that will be transformative for you. It is not always easy, but it is always worth the effort.

I pray God’s blessings on you for your sacred journey.

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