When I was younger, I saw church buildings as being different to other places. I couldn’t imagine us gathering there to watch an important sports match and all screaming and waving our supporters flags. Neither was it even thinkable that we could hold one of our regular social functions there, with beer flowing and people making all sorts of colourful jokes. The church building was a holy place; a sacred space for serious religious activity where God (and the minister) was watching. So, from a young age I started thinking of some spaces as spiritual and others as not. Later, when I became a Christian, it didn’t stop. I dreamed of climbing onto a plane and visiting Israel – the Holy Land! The place where the dramas of Scripture unfolded – where Abraham walked, where David reigned, where the prophets are buried and the events in the Gospels took place.
Jerusalem and Galilee seemed somehow sacred to me all those years ago, as if God is more present there. Do you also feel like that sometimes? It still seems to me that the Jews and the Promised Land remain at the heart of His purposes for the earth. Some people would even say that God does acknowledge ‘sacred spaces’ (after all, the Old Testament is littered with examples of special temples and altars and mountains etc.). All this makes me wonder whether it is wise to talk about church buildings as ‘God’s House’ or to dress up and act more ‘spiritual’ in them than we do elsewhere. I’m not sure.
Do you believe that some places are more spiritual than others? Are there sacred spaces in your life where you find it easier to pray or worship?
As I have grown up, I have found that certain places DO bring me a sense of connection with God that I don’t experience in others. Perhaps it isn’t that these places and spaces are more ‘spiritual’ in themselves, but they do help me to position my heart towards God and focus on Him. On the other hand, I hope as I grow older that I will have to the maturity to connect with the Lord in more and more places that previously felt ‘unspiritual’ to me. Hopefully I can be spiritual in a natural way whichever place I am. Hopefully everything will be sacred, even when I am having fun.
Maybe I could invite the Lord to come and watch sport with me next time (I luckily don’t do flags), or even better – perhaps I could bring a cold beer to church when I visit the town of my youth again 😉
I’d love to hear your thoughts…