The idea of sacred space may not be something you think about often. Or if you do, you may be able to clearly define a sacred space from a secular or non-sacred space. For example, you may easily think of our church sanctuary as someplace holy. In your home you may have a space set aside for prayer where you have placed your icons, a bible perhaps, a cross, a vigil lamp and even a prayer rope. This special or sacred space in your home is set apart, likewise so is our church sanctuary.
These spaces, these sacred spaces are important. They help bring us to God in a physical and spiritual way. In fact special places are part of our human experience. We have a favorite coffee shop, a favorite hike, a special place in the mountains and somewhere we love to go for vacations. Sometimes we even remember a place we have only been to once in our life. We treasure the memory of that place and in thinking of it we often feel differently about our day and it can even cheer us up when times are tough.
Now separating spaces is a good thing. However, it can have a negative impact on us. We may be accustomed to compartmentalizing our life into work, family time, prayer time, etc. We separate the sacred from the mundane or profane as a matter of course. In a sense we have learned to only take God with us into certain circumstances or situations. This is obviously not an Orthodox position. Rather, in the Church we see the whole of creation as God’s. In a similar manner we see all of our life as lived in front of God and for God.
This perspective of combining the sacred and the everyday is not easily accomplished but is essential to our spiritual wellbeing. It takes a conscience effort to baptize all that we do and encounter with God’s Holy Presence. Some of the saints have said that the beginning of sin is the forgetting of God. They go on to say that one should always meditate on and keep alive the memory of God in their heart and mind. In fact the gap between remembering God and forgetting Him they say should last no longer than you can hold your breath. If this is true then we could also say that in remembering God we avoid sin. If the sacred and holy is always in mind, then we will more readily defeat and overcome evil.
I would like to challenge you to bring together the various and scattered parts of your life. In doing so you will begin working on one of the great spiritual disciplines of the Church, the integration of our lives into that of God’s. This is what Saint Paul had in mind when he wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:5 that a Christian takes every thought captive into obedience to Christ.
May God bless you in this Sacred and Holy endeavor,