In the pagan world of Bible times, sacred places were very important. If a pagan god did something at a particular place, worshippers would often construct an altar or temple on the location.
When God created everything, He did not create any sacred places (although He did set aside a sacred day, the Sabbath). God had sacred moments such as the burning bush, the experience on Mt. Sinai, and the Red Sea, but after each event took place they went back to being a bush, a mountain, and a sea.
In the centuries following Jesus’ ascension, Westerners have displayed a penchant for sacred objects and places. Beginning with the desire for Christian pilgrimage to the “Holy Land” during the Constantinian era, shrines, relics, and monuments dedicated both to Biblical stories and Christian martyrs became commonplace.
In particular, Helen, the mother of Emperor Constantine, played a key role in the building of numerous churches and monuments on the location of Biblical events in Palestine – in addition to discovering Christ’s cross (and many other, similar relics).
Twelve hundred years after Constantine, Luther posted his “Ninety-Five Theses” in opposition (at least in part) to relics and the practices which stemmed from their veneration. Today, most Christians still refer to Palestine as the “Holy Land”, implying that the ground is sacred. Even in our present day churches, we tend to think of them as sacred places. God is more interested in sacred moments. I am interested in hearing what you think – how do we build sacred moments instead of sacred places?