The way that God is worshipped varies from church to church across the world. Some do it in a very sacred manner, others in a modern cheery way. Without this diversity within Christianity the number of Christians would drop significantly. Elder members of society would not be interested in dancing down the aisles to loud, bass pumping music. Likewise, teenagers would not be interested in taking part in each symbolic ritual considered essential to those of the more traditional background. Finding a personal way to worship God that meets their interests is an important part of Christianity.
“I can’t stand all the ritualistic denominations of Christianity, they make being a Christian feel less like a relationship and more like a religion with binding rules.” quotes an anonymous Christian. Whereas another Christian says “A relationship with God is something that should be treated in a sacred and respected place in your life. It is a formal relationship, absolutely.”
A news article about a modern Christian church in the suburbs of Brisbane has created many internet users to comment their feelings towards the issue of churches blasting loud music to connect with God, yet disrupting the surrounding neighbourhoods in the process. I personally believe that each person has their own right and way to connect with God. However, if a person’s favourite way is through loud, heavy metal music they should take place in it in a way that respects their surroundings. The things about respecting your neighbour should be kept in mind as to not give out a false impression to strangers on what Christianity is like. Church should be fun, enjoyable and sometimes loud, but not in a way that causes discomfort to congregation members or surrounding public.
Modern Christianity does portray the sacred and profane of having a relationship with God, however not nearly as much as the traditional ways did. Even though there is a lot less sacred and profane being shown around or flaunted as Christian, it is still existent. Churches may have loud jumpy songs, but most also have a quiet worship session where followers can talk to and praise God on an emotional level. God is still turned to when decisions need to be made or when some just needs God to talk to. No matter how much Christianity changes or evolves, it will still always ultimately be a sacred thing.
Every nationality has sacred spaces specific to their race whether it be a cathedral in Ireland, a high rise building in New York or a natural landmark in Australia. These sacred spaces are used to connect the people with their God and/or ancestors.
Uluru is a very important sacred space to the Aboriginal people of Australia. Each marking, crack, dent, hole and feature on the surface of Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, has a ‘Dreamtime’ story about them. These Dreamtime stories are often of a battle between a great Aboriginal warrior and a raiding party or two animals against each other. The markings are often told as wounds or hits given to or received by one of the fighters. These stories are what shape the Aboriginal people’s culture and their beliefs.
For many generations, an Aboriginal tribe were living at the base of the rock. It is where many of them played as children, raised a home as middle aged people and died elderly. It is where many Aboriginal ancestors have lived and died which is one of the main reasons that Aboriginal people hold Uluru as such a sacred place in their heart. Their ancestors lay there and they do not want the public and tourists to disturb them. This is why many people question whether it should be accessible to the public or kept private for the Aboriginals.
Situated at the entrance of Ayers Rock is a sign kindly asking people to respect the wishes of the Aboriginal people and not climb the rock, however, more than half of the visitors each year choose to ignore it and climb anyway. There is often controversy over whether Uluru should be specifically for the Aboriginal people and have no one able to climb it legally or to have it as a walking track for tourists to experience the Australian landmark. Personally, I believe that all people should have a right to climb, look at and experience the wonders of Ayers rock. However as it is a sacred Aboriginal place, the places that tourists can walk should be limited. Special, sacred areas of the rock should be fenced off so that the Aboriginal people can still have a private area. This way, both the tourists and the Aboriginal people have their own small amount or Uluru.
“Uluru is a place that is important to Aboriginal people. I understand why Aboriginal people don’t want people to climb it. If I was an Aboriginal person I wouldn’t want people to climb it because they might damage it in some way, like spray painting. Uluru is sacred just like a church.” An anonymous opinion on what this person believes should and shouldn’t be allowed concerning Uluru.
sa·cred adjective: Connected with God (or the gods) or dedicated to a religious purpose and so deserving veneration: “sacred rites”.
space noun: A continuous area or expanse that is free, available, or unoccupied: “he backed out of the parking space”.
Cathedrals, churches, monuments, nature, temples and synagogues are just some of the many places considered as a ‘sacred space’ by religions and people across the world. For some it is believed that the presence of God is stronger at a sacred space and for others that sacred spaces are the only place to find his presence. No matter what you believe or think about sacred spaces, society finds them very important as they are located across the world with more constantly being built.
As a Christian, I have learnt how Christians hold sacred spaces in their relationship with God. From small roadside chapels to huge cathedrals with stain glass windows to modern, sophisticated, family friendly buildings, Christian sacred spaces are probably the most common sacred space seen by people today. Christians do not consider sacred spaces essential to their beliefs and journey with God. Christians believe they can talk to and worship God where ever they are, when ever they please. Even though sacred spaces are not essential, it is nice to have a place that is set apart from everything else Christians do, specific for focusing on God. Sometimes this helps Christians feel closer to God even though they are always close to him.
For Jewish people, the major sacred space is the synagogue. Some people visit the synagogue multiple times a week, some only once a year. If Jewish people wish to speak to their God, it is not essential to do so at the synagogue but it is definitely preferred. Another sacred space for Jewish people is the whole city of Israel. Most of the things Jews are taught happened or are based in Israel therefore most Jews visit Israel at least once in their lifetime to see and learn more about their own religion.
Druids find their sacred spaces in natural places, as they believe that ‘sacred spaces cannot be made’. This is an interesting belief as the most famous Druid sacred space is Stonehenge, which was created by the ancient Druids. Druids located and placed their sacred spaces in remote, unpopulated areas like forest groves or private farm land. These places are chosen as the sacred space because it was believe that the Celtic Gods lived amongst the valleys, mountains and other natural resources.
Even though all three religions analysed have sacred spaces they use on a day to day basis, none of them believe the only way to talk to God is by being at a sacred space. Having a relationship with God should be something that we can do everywhere, not being limited to a specific place. God’s main sacred space should be in your heart, so that no matter where you are, a cathedral or at home, he is always with you.