As part of my Lenten discipline (I use the word 'discipline' rather loosely) I attended two lectures (out of 5) on a couple of Wednesday evening evensong services. The topic of the first one I attended was 'We Love the Place O God: Sacred Space and Worship'. Which set me to thinking about places I have found to have the air of holiness about them; places where I would meditate or pray or do both.
Many people find special places in nature important for this kind of reflection rather than churches,which often are found my many to be cold and uninspiring. For me, I often find that 'holy' places come unexpectedly -- it can be a cathedral or a seat beside a window in the shade of an oak tree. I have also been surprised by some of the places I might have expected to have a sense of holiness, but which in fact have left me cold...
The first place I felt a spiritual connection to was across the street from the house my parents bought in Connecticut in 1955, when I was 10. The land was and still is very wooded and belongs to the State. Our house was on a hill that lead up to Burr Pond State Park and across the street from our house was a waterfall, in fact two waterfalls, one above the other, which thundered down through the forest and could be heard from the house. The lower falls had been man made and could be very easily accessed from the road -- it was maybe 100 yards walk. I could sit on the edge of the waterfall where a pool formed just before the water fell and on the hottest summer days it would be cool under the trees that surrounded it. Whether I was troubled or happy that was the place I would head. In the picture on the left are the two little boys sitting on the very spot on the ledge of the lower falls to the left of them. Was I worried -- indeed! In the winter the pool and the waterfall would freeze and I sometimes skated there surrounded by snow and barren trees. As a young woman in the 60's I would spend hours there with my guitar contemplating how to save the world. It was for me a holy place.
Other places that bring me this sense of renewal and peace include, Durham Cathedral, Clodock Church in the Parish of Hereford, the view across the gate of our house in France (below), the Oregon Coast, and Chartres Cathedral.
Do you have particular places that bring you a sense of renewal and inner peace?