Returning to the real world
|Image Source: Zhang Kaiyv|
It is great to withdraw to the Sacred Spaces in our lives where we best encounter God. Unfortunately, it is not possible to stay there forever.
In the story of Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9), Peter wants to set up tents on the mountain to prolong his sacred encounter. Peter was the first of many to try and make his sacred space more permanent.
When I was sitting on the mountain at the minister's retreat two weeks ago, I would have loved to have stayed in that moment for hours. However, it was starting to get dark and I had another session to get back to.
As much as we would like to, no-one gets to stay on the mountain forever. All of us that meet with God in “Sacred Spaces” have to eventually return to the real world.
Often, the real world is not a nice place to be. There is much pain, heartbreak and evil waiting for us at the bottom of the mountain.
The good news of the Gospel story is that God is not only with us on the mountain, God is also with us in the valleys. God is not only with us in our Sacred Spaces, God is also with us in the real world. God is not only with us in the joy of resurrection, God is also with us in the pain of crucifixion.
Methodist Minister and author, Trevor Hudson, claims that “the presence of God can be practised wherever we are and in whatever we are doing” (Signposts to Spirituality). The apostle Paul seems to echo this thought when he boldly declares that God is always near, for "in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
It is good to create Sacred Spaces to meet with God. But if we do not encounter God in the valleys, in the everyday situations, we are unlikely to encounter God “on the mountaintop.”
“If I went up into heaven, you would be there; if I lay down in the world of the dead, you would be there.”- Psalm 139:8 (NLT)