Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | April 16, 2019

Just a Building? Why Losses of Sacred Spaces Matter

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During media coverage of the tragic Notre Dame fire yesterday, there were several references made to the idea of the Church being the people, rather than a specific building. As true as this concept is for most Christians (1 Cor. 12:12-14, Eph. 4:1-16), it does a major disservice both to these places and the activities that take place within them to say, “It was only a building” or “It was just a place in the woods”, etc. Sacred spaces mean what they do to people because of the worship and community activities that take place.

Many people believe that what makes a sacred space special is its religious meaning to the faithful. They celebrate milestones in life in these places, they worship together, and they come together to mourn in times of grief. All of these events, I think, help sanctify these places.

One thing that stands out after a tragedy of this magnitude is how much of a sense of hope people have despite the losses. Some important relics survived the Notre Dame fire, and the chancel area (a big deal in liturgical churches) also survived. Hope is important to humanity across faiths and anything that provides a little extra hope is worth celebrating.


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