From the Very Rev. Kristina Maulden
Sacred Space in the Courtyard
One of the great joys of attending National Conferences like the “Rooted in Jesus” conference held in Atlanta this past January, is that I have the opportunity to hear and see exciting things that are happening across the Episcopal Church. There is always tremendous wealth of material and ideas to bring home and incorporate in our own parish. One of these ideas came from the top floor of the hotel in Atlanta. A woman named Lilly Lewin has a ministry to the church using creative ways in which to enter into the Way of Love through prayer. She had set up what she called “Sacred Space.” Several rooms had become a prayer garden where people could sit down and interact with words, art, maps, and Scripture. Then, there were actions assigned that amplified the meaning of each station and drew the person in to a deeper connection to God.
Joann Gray and I were both very moved by the experience. So, we have brought our version of “Sacred Space” to the courtyard at St. John’s for the season of Lent. It is a little challenging creating a prayer garden with the ups and downs of the weather in Albuquerque. Hopefully we will have lots of sunshine over the next 40 days. Currently, there are 10 Stations. There will be additions and changes over the course of Lent, as needed. You will find places to contemplate and pray. There is a cross where you may place the names of those who need healing. There are places to grieve and to turn and to learn.
Lent is a time to intentionally draw closer to God. We can do the obligatory giving up or taking on some discipline. I hope that we all move beyond the surface of giving something up out of duty. There is a treasure of grace that God has in store for each of us. And, so much can get in the way of that grace. We have busy schedules and things to accomplish and attitudes to overcome. Perhaps this coming away to the garden of prayer will help us all push into that undiscovered place of love and mercy that is available to us from the Creator of All. Come to the garden. Find a place to pray and to rest. Find your niche where God is already waiting. Come fall in love with God again and be restored.