Sacred Space

by Connie Spearing, Connections Coordinator

Through March, April and into May we waited for the day when we could come home to UUSM, when we could walk through the doors, see the chalice and the stained glass win- dows, see each other’s faces and raise the rafters in song. Virtual hugs are nice, but they can’t take the place of the real thing.

Connie - smallThe other shoe fell in May with the realization that it will be months before we will be able to gather as a whole congre- gation. It may even be some time next year. I must admit to a few days of total panic, even depression at the thought. After all, I’m the Connections Coordinator; my life is all about showing up and encouraging others to do the same. Ours is not a solitary salvation; we carry out our mission together, and re-charge our spiritual batteries by gathering together in our sacred space.
Then I caught my breath, looked around my house and rested in gratitude for its shelter. Things could be worse, but I needed an alternative sacred space in order to maintain resilience for this new life. I needed a substation sanctuary.

I had already constructed a home chalice by turning a pretty pot upside down, balancing a small plate on it’s flat bottom and topping that with a pillar candle. I light that on Sunday mornings during our on-line worship service.

Without intent, I had also begun to place small, meaningful objects near the chalice. What if I added a few votive candles to light during Joys and Concerns? I had the beginning of a home altar. Maybe I could bring photos of loved ones to the altar, or pinecones from Lake Tahoe or seashells from last summer’s trip to the beach or fresh flowers from the garden.

My granddaughter added a rainbow chameleon which she thinks is very UU, and her mother added a statue of the Buddha from her Cambodian Culture. Being of an earth- based spiritual nature, I tend toward candles, sticks, rocks and water with a colorful tablecloth, but our altar is flexible, seasonal and reflective of our current mood or need.

I began to notice other sacred spaces in my life. There is the table where the portraits of my parents sit, the mantle with the kids’ graduation photos, and the cabinet of grand- mother’s china. Our teenager thinks his shelf of sports trophies is sacred, and I have to agree that for him it is. I call whatever causes us to pause, take a breath and feel a connection with something greater than ourselves a sacred space.

Do you have a sacred space? Do you have a home altar? A corner of the garden or a shelf of favorite books, a spot that can be counted on to bring a moment of peace? You might want to assemble one for resilience in the days ahead. You are invited to take a photo of whatever is sacred to you and share it with your congregation in the Sunday morning pre- service slide show. We might all be surprised by finding sacred space.
Send photos to share on Sunday mornings to office@ uusanmateo.org with Sunday Photos in the subject line.