Monday, September 09, 2002

Sacred Space

Wow, thanks for this great topic! I need to write about it.

First, wherever God meets the People of God is sacred space; whenever God’s People and God encounter each other is sacred time. Because of this, unmistakably those events take place more than only in the church sanctuary.

Then – back to the biblical witness. And God’s call to covenant and our individual, inspired responses to God’s initiative! Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob…Isaiah, Jeremiah…in each of their situations (and in all the incalculable others) God’s call and our response into the vulnerability and risk of covenantal relationship happens in a particular and identifiable place/space and time, revealing and affirming God’s passion for relationship with creation, revealing God’s unending participation in the day-after-day of human history.

Because of this, I believe there’s an authentic sense in which the church sanctuary often is particularly Sacred Space: after all, that’s where we usually administer and celebrate the sacraments – and with the sacraments in the sanctuary we covenant and re-covenant our relationships with God and with one another. For me, there’s a particular sacredness about any place and time we risk entering into the vulnerability – and the promises! – of covenantal relationship.

And I agree with you about memory. Returning to baptism and eucharist: both sacraments are memorial, fulfillment and anticipation; both sacraments are a microcosm of the eschaton. And the sacraments illustrate, image and replicate for us the way God meets us everyday, outside of worship, without the ‘sanctuary.’ And so, just as many our encounters in the course of daily life are sacramental ones in which we join with the holy, our memories of those meetings, our active anticipation of future sacred experiences, also are sacramental.