Bishop Lee; Sacred Space

First published 23rd June 2020

I am not sure whether finding or going to your personal ‘happy place’ was referred to often before the Lockdown, but I have certainly become more conscious of it in recent days. Helping people to restore a lost sense of peace, security or joy is certainly welcome in these days of Covid-19.

Retreating to our happy place is more about knowing how to recover our emotional, mental, or spiritual keel than going to a physical location, but that does not mean this is unimportant. Being in a particular place or locality may be very significant indeed for calming our souls and restoring serenity.

Following my accident in January, I lost the ability to go physically to what some would call my happy place. At home I have two of them. In my office are three tub chairs, but only one of them functions in this way. The other is a bench in the garden which comes into play when the weather brightens.

These are places which I head for to quiet my being; to be still, seeking the presence of God and listening for the whisper of the Spirit. I go there expecting to meet the person of Jesus through the Christian Scriptures and to pray for the needs of people and situations. These are the places where I journal and reflect on what is going on inside me as much as outside.

Although my wife Liz and the family had created a lovely physical environment for my convalescence, I missed that tub chair and bench which were no longer accessible. The bed I was confined to for most of the day needed to be become a sacred space for part of it. Two things in particular helped that to happen - an App on my smart phone, and the radio - but I will write more about this in a later piece.

Despite appearances to the contrary, the Christian faith is not constrained by a requirement to pray or worship in buildings set aside for this purpose. Anywhere can become a sacred place, for a moment, or for many lifetimes. Having particular places where we find ourselves restored and our souls enriched seems to be a feature of our humanity. Yet there are times and circumstances when we are dislocated from those and have to find, or more often create, fresh ones.

That is what is happening for many – including Christian ministers and regular worshippers - whose churches have become off-limits during the pandemic Lockdown. Perhaps Covid-19 is reminding us here in the UK to create sacred space within our homes before looking elsewhere.  And those who have identified a happy place where they live may just discover there is more that can happen in that place of retreat than they ever imagined.

Bishop Lee

May 2020

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