Yesterday after nannying I had a meeting across town. I got off a little early and then this magical thing happened where I happened to hit every part of the public transit system just right. I got directly on the bus and then walked onto the Sbahn and then walked directly on the Ubahn I needed. So instead of just making the meeting, I had lots of time beforehand.
The meeting I had was in a neighborhood that I hadn’t been in before so I decided to just walk around a bit to orient myself. When in a new neighborhood I love to have just a few minutes to walk around and see what is different, what cute shops there are or even if there is a cool church to see (yes, I am a church nerd). At the end of the block sat this impressive church, St. Ludwig. If I have a moment and am curious, I usually try to see if the door is open. More often than not in churches across the globe, the doors are closed up tight and locked. Always a disappointment.
Yesterday was a rainy and grey day and lucky for me the doors were unlocked. Hours were posted on the doors of the open Sanctuary and I quietly let myself in. There were a few other people in the sanctuary so I nestled into part of a pew and thought to myself about the luxury of time I had right now that I could reflect on the space and spend a little time in prayer.
Just yesterday morning I was thinking about the challenge of keeping up my spiritual life here. There aren’t as many spaces that I could go to to just pray. I finally have found a labyrinth but it is a bit of a walk away and takes some intention. I am used to, over the past 15 or so years, to just having access to church space at any time. Now, it is when I am lucky enough to have the magic combo of time and an open door at one of these spaces.
Space has become an essential conversation for me lately. How do we access space, maintain space, create space, honor space and find what we need in the space? How does the location and context affect how we study and talk to God? I am different in my spiritual life in Berlin than I was on the Camino or in Portland. I don’t think my relationship with God has altered but how I interact with God shifts, I shift so my relationship has to shift. Plus, what happens when my job isn’t to create that space or maintain it…what then? How do I find space to set aside time to talk with God? To pray with intention?
I know I have been pondering this since I moved here and continue to bring it up here but I find it is becoming part of my primary pondering, need and continual question.
If you are a pastor reading this or a church leader, please consider keeping space open as much as possible. It is a gift to be able to come in and take up space in prayer. I miss access to holy spaces to set aside myself to pray and talk with God. I yearn for it. I am disappointed when I am greeted with a locked door. I know its not practical to keep it open all the time but please consider keeping your spaces open more than Sunday morning.
If you are someone yearning for spaces, where are you finding them? Do you have space for yourself? Do you have spaces you return to to talk with God or even get in contact with yourself again?
It was a gift to spend time in space yesterday afternoon before my meeting. The stained glass was impressive and gorgeous. The silence felt good to reside in and comfortable. The space was nice to sit in and felt like a space I could return too. It was truly a gift.