“When a pilgrim visits a sacred place and the hears the story of what happened there, something mystical happens.” Brother Kenny from Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron.
“That was where…” begins the story of place. Parents, grandparents, family and friends point out places because a significant event happened. National monuments mean so much because they remind us of a pivotal moment in history. Places mark moments where people were inspired, altered their direction and made critical decisions.
The Bible is replete with these such instances. Paul falls off his horse from coming face to face with God on a road to Damascus. Elijah hears the whisper of God in a cave. The Israelites built memorials. Jesus taught the Beatitudes on a hill. I can imagine parents telling children the stories of these places.
Ocean City, NJ has become a significant place for me. This marks the third year I have made the trip with Robyn and family. You could call it a vacation, pilgrimage or retreat. Something happens when we move ourselves out of our routines and schedules. I have found myself reflecting on the past year and what has changed. Phones and computers get replaced by journals and conversations. God brings us out of our normal so we can have a different perspective on where He has led us.
A theology of place simply recognizes the exact location where God made Himself evident to people.
When we retrace the sacred places in our lives, we can recall the specific moments when God’s presence met us.
Places matter to us. You can point to the places where you changed direction, met people who would impact your life or heard the message you needed. Remember these places and share their significance with others. Find out the significant places of others. These places invite us to meet with God.
Where are the significant places in your life?