the sweetness of the advent prayer hour this morning got me thinking about the sacred.
the idea of the sacred is mysterious to me. I'm learning to appreciate it a great deal more than I ever have, but the mystery of it only thickens.
("sacred": from the Latin for "holy", meaning set apart or separated to God, same root as "consecrated")
in Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman (John 4), he announces the good news that God, who is breath/wind/spirit, is and will be worshiped no longer only on a mountain, but now everywhere breath is breathed, everywhere wind blows, everywhere spirit is present.
now that the kingdom has arrived and is arriving, in other words, the whole world is being made sacred. humanity included, thankfully, allowing us to worship "in spirit and in truth." certainly newsworthy - something genuinely new, a fundamental restoration of the creation taking place. and certainly good news - subverting many footholds for evil, flinging wide open the door to favor, the reality of forgiveness.
but in no way, I think, diminishing the power of the sacred - rather, increasing it's possibilities without diluting it's potency. everything now has an inevitable sacredness - all will be set apart for God when the kingdom comes in it's fullness; all, that is, that is purified, redeemed...all that remains that is good and true, touched by the life of the ages. and even now we can, it seems, by the authority we have as image bearers, as Jesus' agents in the world, confer sacredness on space and time.
when we do, the power of it is surprisingly palpable. like this morning during the advent prayer hour. the space made sacred: a building breathing, resonating with decades of singing, prayer, scripture, sermons, and love; candles glowing and flickering, lovingly lit; music ebbing and flowing, carefully chosen; words well used by saints coupled with beautiful images displayed on the screen. the time made sacred: people rising early, gathering before the gathering light; given to a single holy purpose; made pregnant by silence.
invariably, in the center of such sacred time and space, God appears. having already been there, of course. but making himself known. as we make ourselves known to him. bowing towards him, to kiss. a lovely beginning.