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Ezra 6:13-22, Dedication of the Temple

Sacred space is critical to nurturing spirituality. The Israelites knew they needed a sacred space to ground themselves regularly through the experience of worship – to connect with God in a meaningful way. We live in a world that moves so fast and is filled with sights and sounds that overwhelm the senses. It is necessary that we find a place (or a few places) to block out the distractions and worship the God who created us. We need a place to connect with our spiritual selves.

Some find the necessary sacred space in their church sanctuaries. Most sanctuaries are adorned with items that seem out of time – paraments, stained glass, candles, and crosses – these items have the power to transport us out of the chaos we left at the door and into a world dedicated solely to the worship of our creator. A healthy sanctuary will be filled with sights, sounds, smells, touch, and tastes that all work together to calm and quiet the outside noise and help us center ourselves in the presence of our God.

Not everyone will find peace in their church sanctuaries. That’s ok. There are many places that can be sacred spaces for us. If your church’s sanctuary doesn’t provide the atmosphere you need in order to connect with God, then find or create a space that does. A place, even in your own home, where you can disconnect with the world and become connected with yourself and God through meditation, prayer, or mindfulness practices, is necessary for a healthy spiritual life.

Ezra 6:13-22

Then, according to the word sent by King Darius, Tattenai, the governor of the province Beyond the River, Shethar-bozenai, and their associates did with all diligence what King Darius had ordered. So the elders of the Jews built and prospered, through the prophesying of the prophet Haggai and Zechariah son of Iddo. They finished their building by command of the God of Israel and by decree of Cyrus, Darius, and King Artaxerxes of Persia; and this house was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. The people of Israel, the priests and the Levites, and the rest of the returned exiles, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy. They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs, and as a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. Then they set the priests in their divisions and the Levites in their courses for the service of God at Jerusalem, as it is written in the book of Moses. On the fourteenth day of the first month the returned exiles kept the passover. For both the priests and the Levites had purified themselves; all of them were clean. So they killed the passover lamb for all the returned exiles, for their fellow priests, and for themselves. It was eaten by the people of Israel who had returned from exile, and also by all who had joined them and separated themselves from the pollutions of the nations of the land to worship the Lord, the God of Israel. With joy they celebrated the festival of unleavened bread seven days; for the Lord had made them joyful, and had turned the heart of the king of Assyria to them, so that he aided them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.