It is wonderful to be back after two weeks away on sabbatical! During this time, I was able to delve into the area of sacred spaces by traveling to Quebec City and Montreal where I visited various churches and cathedrals in a spirit of learning and rejuvenation.
I continue to be very grateful to our church for this opportunity which I will continue this summer; all of this is made possible through the Sabbatical Fund. While I was away, our Senior Deacon Beth Hampson led worship on April 24th and Rev. Janie Donohue led worship on May 1st. Both did an outstanding job and I am so thankful to the two of them for their thoughtful leadership! Rev. Janie Donohue and Rev. Jay Libby also provided pastoral care coverage which allowed both the church and myself to know that all the bases were covered.
As I shared in worship on my return, this time away gave me a renewed appreciation for just how vital sacred spaces are in our lives and in our world. For myself, I often gain a greater appreciation for things by not only thinking about how much they add to my life, but more importantly considering how life would be without them.
If you think of the absence of sacred spaces in your life, you’ll see what I mean. What if there were no churches or temples or mosques? What if there were no national parks or retreat centers surrounded by wildlife? What if there were no quiet places of encounter where you connect with your interior life and your God?
Think of how empty your life would be. Think of how weakened and rudderless our world would be.
If there were no places where we could go to slow down and reflect, no places where we could find validation, healing, and guidance, we would be lost indeed.
When I came to our church for the first time as a candidate for the position of Pastor, one of the first things I was drawn to was our sanctuary. I felt an immediate connection to the space. I was drawn to the departure from the traditional, rectangular shape, the position of the stained glass windows, the way the sound carried…the energy and palpable “feel” of the Holy Spirit in the room.
I’ve always wondered what caused that immediate connection. Why was it less so in other sanctuaries I visited?
I suppose there is always something mysterious about sacred spaces. And there should be. That’s a big part of what makes them sacred. There is something more to them than our senses can perceive. That’s a good thing.
At some point, we will find time to share our experiences of sacred spaces and what defines them. In the end, though, they are invaluable and inexplicable. Maybe that is why they are sometimes referred to as “gateways to the divine.”
I hope you can join us in ours, here at FCC sometime soon.
See you in church,