Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sacred Places vs Sacred Journeys

I talked yesterday about the generation changes that are happening in the society around us. One of them is that the generation of the 50's and 60's found a sacredness in space.  The sanctuary is a sacred place, where God was found.  I come to church -- the sacred place -- to find God.

The newer generation finds sacredness in the journey.  It is a sacredness not of place, but of movement.  I am on a journey to find God, and God can be found regardless of location.

I was thinking about that during Sunday school last Sunday.  It was a lesson about the tabernacle -- the "sanctuary" that traveled with the Israelites from Egypt to the promised land.  In order to apply the lesson to the modern time, the teacher asked several questions about worship.  Questions like:

* What symbols in worship remind you of God's presence?
* What is most important in the worship space?
* How is worship centered?

A lot of the answers given were about the physical space that is where our church worships.  The stained glass windows reminded people of the sacred.  Silence is what made a space holy.  It was interesting to me that many of the items and symbols that were mentioned were permanent parts of the sanctuary worship space.  If the church wanted to worship somewhere else, they couldn't take these items with them.

During the evolution of our less-traditional worship -- alternative, contemporary -- whatever you want to call it -- we spent a few months worshiping in the Fellowship Hall.  There were some who were uncomfortable with that, because it was like trying to worship in the kitchen to them.  It did not have a sense of sacred space.

I just find that interesting in the light of what Gil Rendle told us.

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