Lord, I love the house where you live,
the place where your glory dwells. (Psalm 26:8)
My third hospital stay happened during Holy Week. Having served as a parish pastor for almost 20 years, it was disorienting to find myself out of the rush of this busy, celebratory season. It caused me a good deal of aggravation and unsettledness, so I asked for some pastoral care.
A very kind chaplain came to see me. He listened to my struggle, and spoke some encouraging words. He also told me about a Good Friday service to be held in the chapel. I asked for and obtained permission to go, accompanied by a staff person.
The service itself was no-frills and not particularly inspiring. But, the sights and sounds, even smell within the sanctuary helped nourish my spirit and calm my soul. There was something sacred about this space designated for worship. While there were only a couple dozen people there, I clearly sensed the presence of Christ’s Spirit who promised to be there “whenever two or three are gathered in my name.” It was a wonderful spiritual boost to an otherwise bleak Holy Week.
I’m not one to claim God dwells exclusively (or even more fully) in such “sacred spaces” as churches and chapels. God dwells just as fully within us and around us—beside a lake in the woods, at a family home, even in prison cells and in psychiatric units. Yet there is something special about those sanctuaries we set aside to worship the LORD. I pray we do all we can to maintain them—for our spiritual well-being as well as our psychological sanity.