I am fascinated by architecture, especially old churches adorned with stained-glass windows. Every time I walk into one, I feel a sense of profound reverence and awe. Surrounded by wonderful acoustic in its ornate form and aesthetic structure, that feeling is magnified many times when a service is going on particularly with great music and singing. Even the preaching seems to resonate stronger in my heart.
Yet the building on its own can be cold and meaningless and devoid of significance. Much like the increasing number of old churches that are transformed into homes, hotels, offices and even libraries in many parts of Europe. Though they may retain the charm of the ancient usage of the buildings, they're not the same.
Religious space as a place of worship has its place in society. Humans as social beings gather in worship of the sacred. The practice of religion, however, is rarely just personal but usually always communal. The sacred space for humans is always a place for communal interactions. Sacred space is sacred because the community of people that is gathered there for a sacred reason.
Throughout history, such spaces have taken on much significance in the communal life of people groups. Burial grounds of the communities are usually found around churches. Baptismal and wedding services are always communal events. Even special church services like Easter and Christmas attract non-regulars. Sacred space is for the community.
Yet, what makes such spaces sacred is not just people gathered in these awe-inspiring structure and ornate architecture. It is sacred because the community gathers for a meeting with the Sacred One. So whether it is a temple, or mosque, or a church, it is all about meeting with their deity.
When Jesus told his disciples, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them,” (Matthew 18:20) he was teaching them about prayers. It is a sacred moment of communication with God. And our Lord assures us that his divine presence will be felt then. It is an affirmation of his omnipresence and of his deity.
Why do we gather in such sacred spaces then? Is it not to be in God’s presence with the community? We can be alone at home, spending time in prayer by ourselves, reading the scriptures and even singing with gusto by ourselves. But that is not the same as coming together at an appointed time for worship.
What then is your reason for coming to ORPC to worship God on Sunday? When by our attendance with others in our community to meet with the Sacred One, we therefore not only worship God but also give due respect to one another as we do. Hence, let’s come prepared; let’s come with singularity of purpose; let's be punctual; let's participate fully; and let’s truly glorify God as we gather in worship as a family.