The author of our Bible study lesson this past Sunday, Katie Sciba, gave a personal illustration of the time when she and her siblings were present to be with their mother upon her passing from this life into the next. When speaking of that experience, she wrote:
"I knew in that moment we were in sacred space. The focus was narrow and poignant for all of us. We couldn't read or work or see anything but our Mama making her exit from this life. We didn't want her to go, but we wouldn't miss her departure for anything.
The Spirit of God was with us in the sacred space. We were held, comforted, and guided because of the Companion that God sent. Our mother bore witness to God's grace and presence until she took her last breath."
The phrase "sacred space" caught my attention. And so our class spoke of our own experiences with "sacred space" based on the scripture in John 15 when Jesus says, "When the Companion comes, whom I will send from the Father--the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father--he will testify about me."
What occurred in that few minutes was a "sacred space" all its own as class member after class member gave personal examples of experiences in their lives that can only be attributed to the working of God through the Holy Spirit.
In psychology, Abraham Maslow is best known for his "hierarchy of needs." The final set of needs on the hierarchy is the need for self-actualization--the need for one to live up to one's fullest and unique potential. Maslow writes of "peak experiences" as temporary moments of self-actualization.
Maybe those moments of "sacred space" for the Christian could be described as peak experiences in the Christian life when the presence of the Holy Spirit--the Companion--is unmistakable. If you are a believer, I hope you can reflect upon some moments of "sacred space" in your life.
This Sunday, our church will be observing the ordinance of the Lord's Supper or Communion. How often do we consider our time of worship as sacred space? When we participate in the Lord's Supper in remembrance of the sacrifice made by Jesus, are we in sacred space? I hope so.
Chuck Strong is pastor at Olive Branch Fellowship Church