This year Ready for the Road Ahead is taking on a new direction. It is one that follows the grand theme of sight in all aspects which runs throughout Scripture. My weekly writings will be excerpts from a book of the same name which should be published (Lord willing) later this year.
The church I grew up in has always been my idea of a sacred place. As a little girl I loved sitting in the sanctuary and looking at the sunlight streaming in through the stained glass windows which cast a rainbow of colors on the floors and walls. The wooden pews must have been polished frequently because they always had a beautiful sheen to them. And then there was the pipe organ! If played full-force the thundering bass notes could shake the rafters. We were blessed with several talented organists who graced us with the music of Bach and Handel on a regular basis. My son’s church is nothing like this. It is more like a theater with its light show and powerhouse sound system. The worship band is just as talented as the organists I grew up with, but I confess that when the lights go down, and the smoke machine puts a mist about the singers, I feel more as if I’m at a concert than in a worship service. But a glance around the room tells me I’m the minority. I might not think of it as sacred space, but some do.
Photography has brought me to some unexpectedly sacred places as well. One Easter Sunday morning I woke much earlier than I usually do. The sun was just beginning to peek through the trees in my woodsy backyard and I noticed there was a mist on the ground. It was calling for me to grab my camera and take some pictures. I stopped and took a moment to appreciate the beauty. Suddenly a thought came to mind. Was this the kind of morning that greeted Mary Magdalene and the other women as they walked to the tomb? I don’t know how it did, but my backyard became a sacred space.
Having encountered God in different places that have made me aware of His presence in my life I do not find it unusual that the likes of Jacob (Gen. 28:20), Moses (Ex. 3:1-6), a centurion at the foot of the cross (Mt. 27:45-54) and a woman named Mary Magdalene (Jn. 20:11-18) encountered God in significant locations. What does surprise me is that the same Lord Jacob saw at the top of His staircase no longer feels obligated to “reside” in a building He now resides in me. I don’t know how I became sacred space, but the Bible says that I did the moment I accepted Christ as my Savior (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
Of course when I think of all those places where I have felt His presence or the stories in the Bible where men and women have seen the Lord face to face, I usually think of something beyond the confines of the human body. Paul’s words in 2 Cor. 4:7 become more and more powerful to me as my “earthen vessel” gets closer and closer to going back to the earth. However the Lord is never limited by my limitations and through the words of Paul He has made it known that this jar of clay still has the potential to exhibit His power which is all the more reason to make sure I take the best care of it as I can. I don’t know why He decided to do this, but the Lord has made me a sacred space.
The evening had been particularly draining. I left the dorm room of two friends who were at odds with each other and went to pray in the sanctuary of the church. I don’t know how much time passed before, spent and saddened I lifted up my head. My eyes were immediately drawn to the front of the sanctuary where light which passed through a side window was falling on the cross on the altar as if I was in a theater and someone from the tech crew was aiming a spotlight on it. No matter what happened from this point on, the Lord reassured me that I had acted as His child and suddenly the whole room seemed to change. I knew He was there- in the sanctuary and in me. What had started as a place of refuge had become a sacred space. I don’t know how Jesus did it, but He did.
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
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