What makes a space sacred?
My walking buddy texted me and said that she had a new place for us to walk. We weren’t able to connect immediately and she never told me the details or whereabouts of this new place. It was a secret and it was special.
Last week, we tucked in a few early morning walks before she went to work. We met at one of our usual spots, which is about halfway between our homes. Then the day came when she said, “Meet me at church.”
Hum. That is out of our ordinary routine, but we do occasionally meet there out of necessity. Our church, Heartland Community Church, backs up to the trail. Along side of the trail, we have a peaceful prayer path through the trees, but I doubted she wanted us to walk there. Meeting at church was an unusual request, for an early morning, but I said, “Okay” as I wondered, “Is this the day?”
We met and as we began our walk, we walked our usual path along the Constitution Trail, until I detected a departure. We went a new way–that is “off map”–a way I did not know existed. Neither did she, prior to her discovery. She stole away from church one Sunday, faithfully getting in her steps and God delighted her with a surprise. As she walked, she saw a new path. She departed from her normal routine and decided to take the new path. Ironically, we had walked by there may times, but often there was mud and/or water, so we’d turn back unaware of the treasure ahead.
As she walked on, what she saw stunned her. And it did me, weeks later, when she shared her “special place” with me.
The place is tucked behind commercial businesses, encompassed by roads and a highway out of town. We were walking along a path and I could tell she was getting more excited. I was too. It was so lovely and unexpected. I saw a stone wall, nestled in beside the asphalt path. It was surprisingly secluded, amidst all the businesses and traffic. It was a little oasis, hidden away, where I am sure very few know about it. You see, I drive by it daily, sometimes multiple times and I never knew. I even shop at several of the local stores that surround it, yet I never saw this space!
As we continued onward, her palpable child-like joy was contagious. I thought I had seen all there was to see, when as soon as we rounded the corner passing the small stone wall I saw not one, but two fountains, and a pond surrounded by a walking path! Immediately, I felt the whole weight of her pleasure.
When we lived closer to each other, most weeks we used to walk around a pond with a path. But when I moved, the beauty of the pond lost prominence in lieu of time and convenience of other locations.
Because she took a stroll to be faithful, God had an opportunity to share an earthly treasure with her. My sweet friend, in the manor of a true friend, could not wait to share this good gift with me. I think of how God must have been delighted by His children reveling in His creation, groomed by the hand of man.
What made this place sacred? His two girls, heartily enjoying each other and the good gifts that He has given to us.
Have you ever encountered a sacred space? Was it where you didn’t expect it?