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Wikipedia on Sancturary

 

A sanctuary is the consecrated (or sacred) area of a church or temple around its tabernacle or altar.

 

Is the notion of Sanctuary still relevant to you? Is the Earth sacred enough that we don't need a Sanctuary? Or do we still need a place to remind us of the Sacred?

 

Secondarily, what do you like your worship experience to be like? What does it mean to you?

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I've never attended a church where there was a sanctuary. We had a pulpit, up on a stage, but that's it. It was not even remotely sacred, nor was it intended to be. <_<

 

I never had any experience of the sacred when I was a JW except just after I was baptized, and in all honesty, that experience made me wonder if I had just made a huge mistake by getting baptized.

 

Anyway ...

 

I think a sanctuary is important. Life has a habit of pushing us away from seeing or experiencing God. A sanctuary, or a sacred grove of trees, or an altar, or a meditation room, is a way of being reminded of what is around us all the time, and is a call to set aside the trials of life and become focused.

 

Worship for me, at this point since I don't attend church, consists of prayer and mindfullness. Also, gardening is sacred to me. Digging in the earth grounds and connects me to God in a very powerful way. I'd like to think I could experience that in church. I guess I'll never know if I don't go. :rolleyes:

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I think a sanctuary is important. Life has a habit of pushing us away from seeing or experiencing God.  A sanctuary, or a sacred grove of trees, or an altar, or a meditation room, is a way of being reminded of what is around us all the time, and is a call to set aside the trials of life and become focused.

 

I conceived this topic last week before the forums went down. It also just happened to come up in my Sunday School class this past Sunday where we're study Borg's "The Heart of Christianity". A metaphor that we seemed to come to consensus on is:

 

God is like the electrical current that flows through the circuits in your house. Always present, waiting for a circuit to be closed. When we flip a switch, then we get the benefit of it. We get turned on. That's when we wake up to the reality of God (sacred, divine, sanctuary). With practice and attention, we can flip the switch. Some places or experiences, however, are so powerful that our switches just automatically flip. These are sanctuaries and sacraments.

 

Worship spaces, ancient life (tree groves), altars, mountains, waterfalls...weddings, births, communion, baptisms... these are powerful places and events where the veil is thin and we just can't help getting spiritually aroused.

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God is like the electrical current that flows through the circuits in your house.  Always present, waiting for a circuit to be closed.  When we flip a switch, then we get the benefit of it.

 

Nice metaphor. Like Thomas Merton said, God is all around us, shining through everything, but we just don't see it. Thin places (sanctuary) helps us to see God.

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Is the Earth sacred enough that we don't need a Sanctuary?  Or do we still need a place to remind us of the Sacred?

 

Personally, I find nature to be Sacred, rather it be listening and watching the waves of the ocean, a quiet lake, a running river, wildflowers in a field, a forest, etc. There is nothing Sacred to me about a sanctuary. It is just a place built by human hands. I have seen some beautiful artistry in a sanctuary, but I wouldn't compare it to nature's beauty.

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Both UCCs I have attended refer to the Sanctuary. In the case of Wellington, they actually *did* provide sanctuary to refugees from Central America during the Reagon administration's illegal war.

 

I have sometimes felt the area referred to as a Sanctuary and sometimes not.

 

--des

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Personally, I find nature to be Sacred, rather it be listening and watching the waves of the ocean, a quiet lake, a running river, wildflowers in a field, a forest, etc. There is nothing Sacred to me about a sanctuary. It is just a place built by human hands. I have seen some beautiful artistry in a sanctuary, but I wouldn't compare it to nature's beauty.

 

What makes something Sacred?

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I have found that sanctuaries carry out a constructive responsibility by providing a teacher, a place, a service or a book to help people find the kingdom of God within their own consciousness. The main function being to bring people into actual contact with the presence and power of God or pure consciousness. The dispatching of truth intellectually builds a solid foundation for people to move through the layers of the mind in order to build the consciousness of God. In a sense, sanctity is given for prayer and divine worship for us whose consciousness is not fully developed because the goal is not to merely amass information, but to bring about spiritual transformation in the mind. The letter of truth is doled out to serve and enlighten others, not to condemn or harm anyone or anything. A place of worship is a place where the acquisition of money or converts is of little importance because the realization must be truth, a sense of wholeness and a unity of consciousness where we do not envy or bicker in religious capitalism.

A sanctuary is significant because it substantiates our existence so every religion, philosophy and culture has an individuality that is worthy of respect and high regard if it leads to truth. What makes it sacred is if it expands the mind into a consciousness where the world is large enough to hold all men, women, ideas and different natures together. The sanctuary communicates ideas through the mind using a material process and different mediums, but the message from to the mind is something that is ultimately directed from the spirit. In the same respect, a sancturary is not a static center but an arrow pointing to a greater being in God's pure consciousness.

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G-d is the life force.

 

Whatever it flows through is of G-d. And since G-d is love, Sh/he is presented to us each time we embrace a loved one, each time we share prayer and song in a sanctuary with like-minded souls and hearts, and each time we think on how we are a wee small part of the greater and most beautiful universe of nature that we see in us and around us each day.

 

It is of a oneness that cannot be surpassed and should not be underestimated in its power and ability to both destroy, and then magically renew itself on into the future.

 

So yes, each time I see a hummingbird or sparrow at my feeder, each time I am cooled in the shade of a tree, each time I hug and kiss my mom and daughter, each time I see my cactus' blooms in May, I know with certainty that G-d is present and cares deeply about who I am and what I do. So I try really hard not to do things to disappoint Him/Her. But being human I sometimes fail, and yet I am still acceptable. G-d is unconditional love.

 

That's the way I approach these issues, especially since I'm not well known for my regular church attendance habits. For me, much of my everyday world is a sanctuary.

 

flow.... :rolleyes:

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Personally, I find nature to be Sacred, rather it be listening and watching the waves of the ocean, a quiet lake, a running river, wildflowers in a field, a forest, etc. There is nothing Sacred to me about a sanctuary. It is just a place built by human hands. I have seen some beautiful artistry in a sanctuary, but I wouldn't compare it to nature's beauty.

 

What makes something Sacred?

 

IME? hmmm... don't know if I can put it into words... let me think a bit...

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As a kid, I think my concept of Sacred was something touched by God.

 

I guess Sacred is a human concept. Isn't it something we recognize as having been touched by God. What hasn't been touched by God, though? We love to separate...sort.

 

Just more questions...different kind  - Into the Woods
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As a kid, I think my concept of Sacred was something touched by God.

 

I guess Sacred is a human concept.  Isn't it something  we recognize as having been touched by God.  What hasn't been touched by God, though?  We love to separate...sort.

 

Just more questions...different kind  - Into the Woods

 

A sense of being touched by God, yes. But also untouched by humankind. I guess that is why I find nature sacred and a church not.

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Are we the world's impurity?    :(

 

Since the dawn of the industrial age I think we've come pretty damn close. :angry:

 

However, no, I don't think we are. Humanity plays an important ecological role. Studies have been done showing that when tribal ("primitive") humans move out of certain areas, the land suffers because they are no longer there.

 

It's modern society, west and east, that could be likened to a virus, an impurity.

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A sense of being touched by God, yes. But also untouched by humankind. I guess that is why I find nature sacred and a church not.

 

Pure, unspoiled.

 

Are we the world's impurity? :(

 

 

We don't have to be. But sometimes we are... I think it is the difference between those of us who see our role as subduing the earth versus those of us who see our role as caretakers of the earth.

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