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Make a sacred space

Make a sacred space

Bishop Hughes shows her sacred space at home and talks about the importance of making a sacred space for ourselves, especially as we are facing a holiday season like none we have experienced before due to the Covid pandemic. (Time: 4:04.)

Video transcript

This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark. I want to talk with you about making sacred space in your home today and I’m starting with showing you what has become my sacred space in my home, and it really is at my office. Sometimes when I say making sacred space, people think that I mean that they have to put an altar together, have a bubble machine, have water flowing – that they've got to change an entire room and have it lit in a very particular way. And you can do any of that, but for me what makes this space sacred is what I do in the space. And this is my workspace, I come into this space, this is my office, and I do work every single day from this desk.

But in the mornings when I come in here in the darkness and I light the candles, it is my space for prayer. It's a holy place where I lift up all the people of this diocese – the different parishes, all of the clergy, and the worries of the world. It's also my worship space when we lead a worship service in the diocese or when I’m leading worship on Sunday mornings, it is from this space. For me it is seeing creation and seeing those lit candles that let me know I’m in a sacred space. And what just happened right then with the cars driving by, and I hope while I’m talking to you we also see some people walk and run by, but people walk their dogs and children and someone's always running by and it reminds me that I’m connected to this larger world of people that God has given us to care about.

I think sacred space is going to be very important to us, in sacred space in our homes, our worship place, our prayer place, our prayer closet – whatever it is you want to call it, but that holy place in your home where you know you can go and be in the presence of God. I think each of us is really going to need that over the next few weeks. All the reports that we are seeing right now have been letting us know that the rise in Covid is expected to get much sharper between Thanksgiving and Christmas and directly afterwards, that the travel and the gatherings will probably create opportunities for infection, and some of us have to be very careful. It will be a Thanksgiving and a Christmas like none we have experienced before, where we're staying distant even though we stay connected. We don't necessarily get to see each other face to face and hug each other, but we can talk to each other over the telephone. We can look back at all the memories we've had before and we can plan for good memories in the future.

So it will be a very different holiday this year and I think I could be wrong but I think having these places – these places where we can go and gather with our family before God or sit quietly by ourselves before God –  these places that bring us a sense of peace and connection and hope and holiness are going to be important to us in this time of celebration and separation.

Take care of yourselves, dear ones. Make the space that you need. It doesn't have to be perfect, it simply has to work for you. Know that you remain in my prayers and that God will be with us whatever is before us, and I pray that there are blessings on your Thanksgiving and on your Christmas.

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