“Be still, and know that I am God.—Psalm 46:10a
In seminary, I became very interested in church architecture. In a Philosophy of Religion class with John Newport, I wrote a paper on the theological implications of worship space. Dr. Newport liked it and encouraged me to delve in the topic further. One of the things I enjoy is experiencing worship spaces and documenting them with photographs but I don’t build worship centers.
While visiting with a friend recently, I learned that her early ambition was to become an architect and design church buildings. Instead, she found herself in divinity school and the wife of a minister!
As we talked together, we realized that even though we early on were attracted to the design and use of worship space and we are not involved in building or designing physical spaces, we have found a way to create sacred space without bricks and mortar.
My friend does it by planning and creating retreat settings where believers can come together and experience God. This is a very special gift. I do it by engaging in a coaching practice that offers a nonjudgmental, safe place for clients to discover their God-give purpose and to pursue it.
Neither of us is creating physical space, instead we are providing virtual spaces that can be used for sacred purposes. Such spaces are much more permanent than physical places of worship which can come and go. We can create sacred spaces anywhere for people to encounter God.
Having such sacred spaces is necessary for believers to grow into the disciples God has called them to be. How do sacred spaces fit into your daily life? We can’t always be on retreat or in a coaching conversation. Perhaps your sacred space is an actual physical place—your kitchen table, your desk, your backyard, a park, a trail, or your automobile. On the other hand, your sacred space may be anywhere you choose to create it. In order to have a sacred space, however, several things are important.
First, be intentional about your sacred space. Consecrate it with prayer and ask God to be present with you there.
Second, try to find a place with little external stimulation. This is often the hardest thing to do, but you can begin by cutting off your cell phone and removing it from your body.
Third, enter into your sacred space with a sense of anticipation. Whether you hear a word from God or not, just the experience of being open and present to God can make a big difference in expanding your spiritual receptivity.
Fourth, although you may have some plan for your “sacred space” time—Bible reading, contemplative prayer, meditation, etc.—being there is more important than what you do there.
Where is your sacred space?