I’ve been thinking a lot this week about different significant times in my life – specifically as they relate to worship. Yeah – taking a course which assigns such tasks is a motivating factor, but it’s not the end. Rather, I find myself reflecting on time in a whole new way.

But what I am going to blog about tonight is a space, or rather a particular set of spaces. Sanctuaries.

I’ll start with the first one I remember. It’s one of the only times I remember my mom taking me to church as a youngster. I sat in a pew, bored out of my mind, and couldn’t understand why they served such tiny refreshments (Communion). I was glad we didn’t have to go back. I can’t tell you much about that sanctuary, only that I was glad to leave it behind.

Now to the one I lead worship in every Sunday, and most I’ve been in since then. What a magical place. It’s a place filled with memories of powerful encounters, Spirit-filled times of prayer and worship, and also times of bitter disappointment and grieving.

Fill it with 200 people and it becomes a completely different place than when it’s just me. And try leading worship under the stage lights in the middle of summer when the a/c goes out.

Sanctuaries are spaces in which I can recall so many powerful events taking place. Receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, taking communion for the first time, getting baptized, receiving the call to church planting, playing on worship teams, leading worship, seeing people get saved, seeing healings take place, weeping with friends over good things.

They have also been spaces where I have wept with friends over hard things. In early spring 2006 friends of mine lost their seven month old son and we had a memorial service at our church. Late that autumn we were having another service for friends that essentially lost their baby after a few short days.

I have found as I think about spaces, what stands out to me isn’t so much how those spaces looked. Perhaps if I had been to some majestic works of architecture, I might reflect otherwise. But up until this point, what has stood out to me is what has taken place in those spaces. And how I hope and long for even more.

For: The Institute Of Contemporary And Emerging Worship StudiesSt. Stephen’s UniversityEssentials Red Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt