As a Christian there is a specific quality when we speak of Sacred Space. We know it as a place of encounter. It is a place where through prayer, reflection and contemplation we notice that Almighty God is present. It is filled with revelation as God makes himself known.
I use this word specifically; I love the Appalachian Mountains. It is a place where I connect with creation. I enjoy the Rockies, the Gulf Coast of Florida, some aspects of New York City or London. But where my heart leaps is the wilderness of western North Carolina. In those elevations I’ve had significant moments of self discovery, calling and encounter. Sitting on a mountain top with a grand view I resonate with this passage from the New Testament, Romans 1:20 (Amplified Version)
“For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification],”
God makes himself known in creation. This is not pantheism, God is not the tree, or the rock but rather by looking at the beauty of creation we can sense God’s presence and discern his existence. The whole of the universe is not an accident. Creation has detailed design, intention and purpose and there we can know that there is a Creator engaged with His creation. I have sensed this on many landscapes but for me most profoundly in Southern Appalachia.
I travel there usually twice a year for personal retreat in a hermitage. The hermitage where I lodge is part of a retreat center and nestled away from every thing are four little cabins and a chapel. It is a place of silence. A hermitage is specifically designed for quite, still, reflection. It carved out intentionally to embrace a Holy Solitude. Scripture encourages us,
“Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalms 46:10)
I think the opposite is true as well, if we are not still we will not know God. Mother Teresa once said, We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls. Like Mother Teresa, I discovered a journey that has shaped my faith and life. It is a regular pilgrimage we all need to take from time to time. Stay Tuned…