July 21, 2019: Sacred Spaces Indoors and Out

By Mother Diana

One of the privileges of priesthood for me has been an almost daily awareness of sacred space. I was attuned to a sense of the sacred long before I became a priest, but this past year the tendrils of my spiritual neurons have grown strong along the trellis of Sunday and weekday Masses, regular study of scripture, and pastoral care.

Last month, my family and I spent a week in Santa Fe, NM. Following shoulder surgery, I was still in pain. Climbing ladders up Pueblo ruins was frustrating, trekking through museums hurt, and worse, I was not allowed to join the others riding horses.

While I felt physically limited, I was shaken by the effect on my soul of the profound beauty of the town and surrounding spaces. The canyons and mesas and low-slung, slope-shouldered Pueblo-style buildings seemed to expand my sense of the sacred. The ochre cliffs and purple storm clouds, the color of the light itself, mesmerized me, drawing me into a sense of God’s immediacy.

You also may become aware of the holy in new ways when visiting a church in a foreign place. The Church of the Holy Faith is an Episcopal church with an Anglo-Catholic liturgical style, which might have felt at odds with the uncultivated landscape around it. Yet the formal beauty of the liturgy seemed interwoven with the rough immediacy of the physical world. The church doors were left open until the start of the service, sending a shaft of light and a breeze down the nave. During Mass the church glowed with the light of intricate stained glass. The effect was a rich simplicity. During our time in Santa Fe I continued to want to duck into the church to re-experience the balance of the sacred inside and outside of doors.

Among the things that call me to ministry is the desire to create sacred space for people and to reveal a God who wants to speak to them. You can find sacred space in a church, certainly. You may also discover it by a hospital bed while listening to a patient lost in pain. And, I realized, the more time you devote to attuning to the holy in the needs and desires of others, the more vibrant the holy when you put up your away message and take off for a week.

Last Published: July 18, 2019 10:23 AM
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