Now [Daniel’s] upper room had open windows that faced Jerusalem. Daniel knelt down, prayed, and praised his God three times that day, just like he always did. – Daniel 6:10
The chapel at Manchester UMC was built in the 1850’s. I always enjoyed stopping by and sitting a bit from time to time. Although through the decades renovations had been done, one of the things that remained unchanged was that churchy aroma. I’ve thought it was produced by the combination of scents from perfume, cologne, and humanity, all ingrained into the oak pews.
In short, it smells like a church. That’s a universal smell, isn’t it? Whenever you encounter it, it wafts you back to your special sacred church space. Memories of people who still live on in your heart. Scenes of candlelight services and Easter morning lilies. Personal events like baptisms, weddings, and funerals. The laughter and giggles of children, the energy of youth, the faithful service of adults of all generations.
We live in a time of spiritual-but-not-religious, and there’s not anything wrong with that. God comes to us in all forms, and tending to your spirituality is important however you do it. But the experience of a sacred, bricks-and-mortar place is invaluable.
The temple in Jerusalem was one special place shared by the ancient Hebrews. When they were away from the Holy City, they, like Daniel, turned and faced it. It was acknowledging the place on earth where God’s Spirit was especially felt. Just turning to it physically, even though they were miles away, brought back a sense of the sacred.
Where is your sacred place? This week spend some time there, only if it’s in your heart. Recall people and events long distanced by the decades. Maybe you can even recall that churchy aroma.