The passenger behind me is coughing spastically, and the lady sitting next to me on the plane has bumped my elbow for the tenth time. Irritated, I look up from my computer at the flight attendants who are pushing a cart down the aisle. Elbows in! I know it’s not the best environment for writing a post about Sacred Spaces, but I’m on a long flight from Singapore to Seattle with a looming deadline, so I’ll have to endure all the distractions. If only I had a nice quiet spot where I could write, like a street-side cafe or patio overlooking the beach…
Sacred Spaces. My definition: a space (physical or temporal) to unplug, pause and reflect on the Lord and Scripture. This space allows one to practice gratitude, to pray, and cultivate a sense of awe and wonder. Yes, I’m going to run with this.
First thought, nature. When I lived in rural Kenya, one of my sacred spaces was on top of our Toyota Hilux. Late at night, after the dishes had been washed and my chickens were safe in the coop, my husband and I would climb on top of our Hilux and stare up at the ceiling of stars. The heavens were so close I felt as if I could cherry-pick a star and swallow it’s flickering light. In those quiet, atmospheric moments, I drew close to God, marveling at His handiwork, and reveling in the knowledge that he loved little old me.
At times, I felt lonely on top of that car, but it provided a space for me where I could reflect and pray about the things on my heart. Jesus spent time in nature too, in lonely places, to meet with His Father and pray (Luke 5:16; Mark 1:35). I’m sure when it comes to sacred spaces, you have a nature spot that comes to mind as well.
The next round of thoughts have me thinking about my job as a nurse over the last twenty years. The space between a patient and me is sacred- and where I most often ask the Lord to engage my mind and spirit. Whether it is taking a pulse, measuring a baby’s head circumference, dressing a wound, or dispensing medication- I have found the art of nursing care to be holy ground. By inviting God into the act of serving or helping, I’m creating my own sacred space- to be aware and mindful of His presence as I engage with the person in front of me. Some of the most intimate, “sacred space” moments in my life have been coming alongside a woman in labor, or whispering prayers over the soul of one passing out of this life.
I believe that human interaction can often be a sacred space- this can happen in conversation, sharing a meal, prayer, worship, and acts of service. Believers are encouraged to meet together (Colossians 3:15-16), and where two or three are gathered in Jesus’ name, He is with them (Matt 6:6). I’m sure you can think of times in your life where God used people to create a sacred space for you.
Hmmm? Where else? When else?
My seatmate opens the plane window shade and taps me on the shoulder (you would think she could tell I was WORKING). I sigh inwardly, take out my earbuds, and lean over. When I peer out the window I gasp– the sky is laser blue and the sun is on the horizon casting ruby red and orange streams of light over the clouds below. It’s breathtaking and I catch myself swallowing hard. Our heads practically touch as my seatmate and I take in the view together; we don’t dare look away. “It’s beautiful,” she says. “I know.” I whisper. I sit back and smile at my seatmate, “Thank you for showing me, I would have never guessed what I was missing out on.” We go on to have a pleasant discussion and I find myself prayerfully thanking God for 1) the view, and 2) the opportunity to share this moment with a complete stranger. An unexpected sacred space.
This experience reminds me that really any place, any moment, can be a sacred space. Sure, we have our own special places that allow for intimate moments with the Lord- a church sanctuary, a park bench, or the kitchen sink. But sacred spaces can also take place in the form of human interaction or activity at the most random times, in the midst of hustle and bustle or sheer silence. Friends, we can create or find a designated sacred space to allow for focused time with God AND we can delight in unexpected sacred space provided by our merciful Father. Case in point: this plane ride.
Thank you God for meeting me in unexpected ways, especially when I probably don’t deserve it! Thank you for providing quiet places to ponder and pray in, and thank you for people and plane rides that make a sacred space for me to experience your glory too! Amen.
Where do you go to meet God?
Has God met you in an unexpected sacred space? Please share below!