CREATING A SACRED SPACE4
“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it . . . How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.” - Genesis 28:16-17
One of the reasons for gathering together for in-person worship is the corporate experience of God. While it is great to be alone with God, as Jesus modeled for us in the gospels, there are aspects of our experience of God that can only happen together. However, some hallmarks that distinguish us as a Christ-centered church can hinder a deep encounter with God.
One of the hallmarks of contemporary churches, especially in the US, is informality. This reflects the embrace in America of an informal, casual culture. We are informal in how we dress, how we talk, and how we organize our work and time. This is why working from home online is a consequence of the pandemic that our world will not easily undo. We like to have fluid working conditions.
Another hallmark of the contemporary church is friendliness. For most people visiting a church, the friendliness and warmth of the congregation is one of the primary reasons they might want to return. The buzz of people chatting and catching up contributes to an atmosphere of friendliness. The first-time guest to the church is noticing: Did people acknowledge and talk with me? Does this church seem clique-ish, or is there openness and room for me in the relationship circles?
TrueLife is great at creating a warm, friendly, "come as you are" environment. We want to continue having these aspects be a hallmark of our church. At the same time, we want to be a church where people will say, "God is really in this place, and I met him here." That is why when we gather for worship, we want to create a Sacred Space. A Sacred Space is a place where people can have a sense of the transcendent and be connected to the Lord.
Each week, we have a season of extended quiet worship as we prepare our hearts to sing together, declaring the greatness of God and hearing God's word. Although God is prese everywhere, this is a time to become aware of God's presence. To know, not just with our minds, but with every part of our being, that God is with us.
So, how should we take advantage of this time to meet with God? Here are a few suggestions:
- Quiet: Be still, get quiet. Don't just be quiet by not chatting. Ask God to still your inner person. Breathing helps. As you enter into this place we have set aside as a sacred space, get comfortable in your seat and take a few breaths. You will notice a sense of peace descending on you.
- Seek: Invite God to meet you in this place. Invite Him to make you aware that He sees you and He loves and cares for you.
- Review: Ask God to bring to your attention those attitudes and actions that have been other than what God wants you to be.
- Confess: As God brings these things to your attention, confess them to the Lord and receive His forgiveness. You might imagine these things being bundled up into a sack and laid at the foot of the Cross.
- Ask: You may come into this place with burdens for yourself or others. This is a good time to bring them to the Lord in prayer.
- Meditate: Sometimes there is scripture or questions scrolling across the screen. Meditate by spiritually chewing on these words like a cow chews its cud. Read the words. Repeat them several times in your mind. Notice what God is highlighting in the words for you.
These are just a few suggestions that may help you have an authentic encounter with God. Having that encounter is the most transforming thing that will happen in your life.
Some of you may object, thinking, "Well, I meet God with my conversations with my friends and their warm embrace." Yes, this is one way we meet God, but it is not the only way. So, let us continue to foster a warm, friendly, and accepting environment at TrueLife. But, let's not neglect the importance of creating a sacred space where we can encounter God in all His glory and goodness.
Have a great day and a great rest of the week.
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