by Rev. Becca Crate
“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”– Joseph Campbell
As our traditional sacred spaces of sanctuaries and chapels close the doors due to the pandemic, we are called to find a new way to experience the holy. It is in uncertain times like this where we remember again and again that the church is much more than a structure, a building, a place of bricks and mortar. The church is a faithful group of people journeying together, lifting each other up, and learning how to translate what they know of God into their everyday lives.
These three pictures are places in which I have found holiness. The first image, the isle of Iona, entrench me in reminders of the saints who built an abbey in the 900s, with stone and masonry, leaving something for generations of faithful who would flock to the island. When you turn from this viewpoint, you are surrounded by bare beaches and land untouched, which reminds me of the wonder of God’s creation.
The second image is an alley in Boston, and even there in the unexpected we find the sacred. In the dumpsters, the urban landscape, the very grit of people working and living together in tight quarters. It is also an alley in a busy part of the city, so taking a moment to step into the silence and the quiet in the midst of busyness is a reminder for us to sidestep into the holy spaces.
The third image is my backyard, in rural Maryland, as you look out to my neighbor’s barn, the small stream that runs through the brae, and the sun that beautifully shines on the trees. Overhead there is usually a hawk, sometimes an eagle, and more often then not you find God’s creatures of all kinds in this landscape. This is a reminder that outside my door, if I stand still, the holy and sacred places are right there.
We may miss the fondness of stained glass windows, of organ pipes, and of pews, but may you know that the holy isn’t entrapped in that place. You can find the holy and sacred wherever you go, if you stop and look and wait and watch. In the green hills, in the breath of the wind, and in the symphony of the city streets, God is waiting. You ultimately have the opportunity to decide what is sacred and what is holy. Go, find the holy and rejoice.
Let Us Pray
Generous God, I come before you now, seeking your presence and the comfort of your Spirit. Lead me, guide me, and turn me towards the sacred and holy, where I experience a joy, a peace, a solace like no other. Amen.
Rev. Becca Crate is the pastor of Springfield Presbyterian Church, in Sykesville, Maryland. In her free time, her interests span from obscure art mediums, ethnomusicology, adventuring, traveling, and spending time with her best bud and sidekick, her pup Fritz.