Reflection on Sacred Space

I was invited today to lead the communion service at groovy sister hq.  Here is my reflection on today's readings:

Our first reading today comes from the book of Maccabees.  I am the first to admit that I know pretty much nothing about his book, so I decided to do a little bit of research for today.

I was interested to learn that the story in the first reading, which might seem pretty removed or irrelevant from our reality today, is actually about something that we know a little bit about.

It is about the beginning of the Jewish Feast of the Dedication, more commonly known to us by its Hebrew name, Hanukkah.

"Then Judas and his brothers and the entire congregation of Israel decreed that the days of the dedication of the altar should be observed with joy and gladness on the anniversary every year for eight days..."

To this day, our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate these eight days each year.  They are remembering the renewal of the center of Jewish life, the Temple, their Sacred Space. Even though the Temple was destroyed in the year 70, they remember this dedication even today.  Originally, lamps for the dedication were lit in the Temple itself, symbolizing the law.  But even then, lamps were also placed in the private houses of the community.  This is how Hanukkah came to be known as the Festival of Lights.  It is a holiday Jesus would have celebrated, as a boy and a man.

So is it any wonder, in our Gospel story, that he was more than a little bit annoyed by this intrusion on their Sacred Space, their House of Prayer?

Each of us has a sense of place.  No doubt, this Chapel is important to us.  A place to touch the heart of God, slow down, join together in prayer.  This is one of our Sacred Spaces.

So too the labyrinth outside.  The trees.  The lake. The mountain.  All of God's Creation.  As our Psalmist says, "Yours O Lord are grandeur and power, majesty, splendor and glory.  For all in heaven and on earth is yours."

If all on earth is God's, is it not all, in a way, Sacred Space?  As we live out of Chapter commitment  to Care for Creation, perhaps what we are really doing is caring for Sacred Space.

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