March 18: Space for Prayer

First, a sincere “Thank You” to all who have provided feedback by voice, text or email.  I truly appreciate hearing from you and please keep it coming!  Before we go into the weekend and potentially my “How to Survive Social Isolation as a Raving Extrovert” reflection, followed by the “How to Survive Your Raving Extrovert partner in Social Isolation Without Raving Yourself” follow-up, I’d like us to re-visit one element of my previous reflection, the Domus Ecclesia in Latin, the church at or in the home.

As it seems we will be spending much more time at home, I invite us to consider how we use, inhabit and decorate our interior spaces.  While Mother Emily is providing helpful resources on just this topic, focusing upon the dining room table, I want to take us to a dedicated prayer space within our home.  As a traditionalist I have always thought it best to use each space for what’s it is intended for….the dining room table is not a workspace, for instance, but the central place to sit and enjoy a shared meal.  The kitchen as the place to prepare that meal.  The living room, the space to enjoy living.  The bedroom, the place for actual sleeping and of course, during this time….well, you get the idea!

How about a designated prayer/worship/devotional spot?  I love ginormous cathedrals and basilicas in the Holy Land and elsewhere which provide those vaulted, soaring open spaces for the masses to worship oriented towards the ornate high altar, but I especially appreciate the numerous other, smaller, more intimate spaces for a few or perhaps even one to simply stand and commune with God privately.  This is the chapel in the church, and if our homes can be churches, then perhaps we can claim a small chapel?  A prayer corner?  Perhaps even a focusing table or shelf or small bench which mimics an altar.  An icon or beloved small picture which draws us towards God?  A bible, devotional book and Book of Common Prayer nearby within easy reach?  A candle?  Cross?  Prayer shawl?  Well lit?  It need not be fancy, just functional, warm, safe and reflective for you.  Please find above some photos of my rectory chapel, nothing more than some family tartans and items which help me to enter into a worshipful, reflective posture.  I don’t use it enough but even the mere presence of such a space is so profoundly comforting.  During this time it feels important to be intentional about how we live, move and around and maximize our domestic space.  May I suggest spiritual home improvement during this season?

  1. If you do not have such a devoted space to prayer, worship or spiritual study in your home currently, then I challenge you to find and clear such a space in the next few days.
  2. If you already do, then I challenge you (and us!) to redress, upgrade or contemporize as appropriate to bring you comfort, warmth and reflection today.
  3. In either case, I challenge us all to intentionally inhabit our home chapels for the remainder of Lent for some moment every day on a consistent basis, whether morning, noon, afternoon or evening.  The only tech allowed is what we use for prayer or devotional, otherwise phones are not welcome!  Enjoy and send me pictures of yours!

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