Is there ‘sacred space’?

5Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5 ESV

I’m in a class about church culture right now, and we talked about this question a couple weeks ago. Is there such thing as ‘sacred space’? Are there places or things on earth that are ‘sacred’? Conflict in Israel tells us there are some religious groups who think so, but what do you think? Is there any literal holiness in the Holy Land?

On a more practical level, is there anything ‘sacred’ about where churches meet? Or think about it this way: Does God care about the environment where we gather? Is God at all interested in gathering space? And now more personally: Do we care about it? Everybody knows we spend time thinking about it.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts as I process this. Are there any passages that address this issue?

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8 comments

  1. I do think that God’s presence can make a place a ‘sacred space.’ But I don’t think it’s based on location. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and when we gather His presence is there among us, sometimes stronger than others.

  2. Simply because Jesus was born in Israel and walked there, healed there, died there, was resurrected there makes it the holy land. Also Israel is where he will return to someday to place his feet on the Mount of Olives.
    The ground Moses stood on was holy because God said so and not for any other reason.
    Nothing is holy but God; and what God says.
    It isn’t possible that one can decide what is holy since no spot on earth is holy just because one may think so.
    Such as saying Ground Zero is sacred when it is not.
    Shall we say all soil where people died is sacred? I think not.
    The truth is God alone is holy he made this clear.
    To add to that is to really venture off to treacherous waters.

  3. Thanks for generating the discussion Nate. I hope you’re enjoying Chicagoland and MBI. I can’t say I don’t miss that place; what a great place to be…but is it sacred?

    I think there is such a thing as “sacred space.” It’s everywhere. As one of my favorite thinkers has said, “Everything that is, is holy.” Things have the quality of holiness because they were made by God. I do not believe some things are inherently sacred and others inherently secular, evil, or whatever. All things, including all places, are holy because they are creations of the holy God.

    Now, we often live as if this is not the case. The world wants to create a divide between sacred and secular. And it has many reasons for doing so (e.g., you can’t pray in school because school is ‘secular’; you can’t get a tattoo because that’s not ‘sacred’). But, the Word tells us, everything that was created is for our good. It only becomes bad when we corrupt it with sinful purposes. But things used sinfully can be redeemed. Everything can be sanctified by the Word of God and prayer. And who does the sanctifying? Us, because we are the Body. Christ brings sacred space to a world that has been corrupted by our sin through us, his holy priesthood.

    1. Brett! It’s very cool to hear from you. I’m enjoying my time at Moody, mainly because I get to talk about stuff like this. What floor were you on when you were here?

      I like what you said about sacred vs. secular. It’s interesting how in the age of secularism we draw lines on what areas God has influence or an opinion. Thanks for the comment!

      1. Nate, I was on Culby 10 for two years and then R.A. on Culby 15. Where are you? Who’s your favorite prof (I’m a Sauer-guy)? Where do you like to eat?

      2. That’s so awesome! I’m on Culby 10! I’ve never had Sauer. Every time I try to take him his class is already full. I think I’m going to have him in a couple semesters for his Hebrews class, though. I’d say my favorite professor so far has either been Dr. Litfin or Dr. Koessler. I’m a Portillos fan. I try to eat there as much as I can. We’ll have to trade Culby 10 stories sometime.

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