Christ-shaped Space (Lent Week 5)

Christ-shaped Space (Lent Week 5)

Re-Building a Christ-Shaped Life

If someone says the word “home,” what do you picture?

white house with gray roof; orange pumpkins on the porch

Is it your current living space? Is it some idealized version of home that’s been absorbed from old TV shows like “Full House” or “I Love Lucy?” For me, the idea of home is tied to my grandmother’s house. I remember how the hunter green carpet felt on my bare feet, the sound of her little poodle’s collar as she pranced around the kitchen, and the abrupt temperature change when you went into the non-air-conditioned Utility Room.

I think about my grandmother’s house because it was a place of comfort, welcome, bounty, and safety. All of us spent a large portion of time there. If you were in that end of town, you could always find the spare key out back and find yourself in that refuge. And that’s what home is to me. It’s the place where I feel safe, free, and whole. Home is sacred space.

What’s yours? What’s your truest idea of home, some place sacred? Maybe it’s your childhood home. For some, it might be a spot in the woods that your family’s been hunting on for years. For others it might be where your children grew up. Where is your sacred space?

Activity: There’s No Place Like Home

Find some paper and something to doodle with and then, draw that sacred home space. If you’re really self-conscious about drawing, jot down a few words of what makes it sacred to you.

For Jesus, that sacred space was the Temple at Jerusalem. When he goes missing as a child, his parents find him in the Temple, claiming it was “my Father’s house.”

When Jesus clears the Temple in John 2, you can hear him say those same words again: “my Father’s house.” Read the text below and see the passion he carries for that place.

John 2:13-16

13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.     15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.  16 He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” 

orange leaf

Jesus’ reaction can seem extreme. But, can you imagine if you came back to your grandmother’s house or that sacred space that you treasure, only to find that someone had turned it into a pawn shop or some kind of shady loan shark’s storefront? You might make a few chords of your own!

collage of pictures with a centered cross visible in negative spaceIn other accounts of this story, Jesus says that his Father’s house was “meant to be a house of prayer for all nations.,” but that they were turning into something else, something it was never supposed to be. In other words, his sacred space had a purpose and they were breaking the purpose of that space, making it something less. But the time came and Jesus cleared out the Temple to make it what it once was, to make that space sacred again. That  space was for nothing else other than to connect with God. It’s not for business or for finding a spouse or advancing your standing in the community. This space is for God, and nothing else.

I want to offer you a challenge of sorts. Make a sacred space. You don’t need to dedicate an entire room or anything. Matter of fact, it could be some place outdoors or a towel laid down in the corner of a room. But wherever you choose, make it sacred, special, holy. Use that space for no other purpose but to connect with God. Go pray there. Go listen for God’s voice there. If you find yourself distracted, leave. Come back when you fully intend to connect with God. Make that space sacred. If something begins to tread on that space, clear it out! Protect that space and make it holy. What you will find is that it’s not just the corner of a room that is only for God. There’s a space in your heart that is sacred, too.

Prayer: God, my shelter, cleanse me and make my spirit your dwelling place. Amen.