The Beauty of Reverence in Sacred Spaces
In our fast-paced, noisy world, it becomes vital to create havens of serenity, where we can connect with the divine and bolster our spirits. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints values the sanctity of its dedicated, sacred spaces where members gather for worship and spiritual nourishment, encouraging a spirit of reverence and respect that nurtures a deep and personal connection with God.
Let us begin with the grounding in scriptures and teachings from revered church leaders who remind us to embrace the spirit delineated in Doctrine and Covenants 109:8, the need to foster a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God. These aren’t just our temples, chapels, conference centers, visitor centers, and educational buildings, but our own homes as well–any place a priesthood holder has dedicated the edifice to the Lord. President Gordon B. Hinckley and numerous prophets and apostles echo this sentiment, urging us to treat these sacred spaces with profound respect and to find there a sanctuary of internal quietude.
In our chapels specifically, especially during our Sacrament meetings, a vital part of creating this special atmosphere is the music that fills these holy grounds, offering an auditory embrace that invites reflection and spiritual connection. I have been fortunate to serve as a church organist for close to four decades, a role that allowed me to understand the depth of spiritual connection music can foster. However, sometimes the buoyant conversations amongst our members can overwhelm these tender notes. I find myself wishing that everyone could experience the spiritual embrace carried through the chords that I experienced as I spent time practicing these selections in an empty chapel. Inspired and sacred music is intended to enhance our collective worship experience.
The beauty of our congregation lies in our warm and neighborly nature, a testament to the love and unity fostered amongst us. Yet, there is a delicate balance between celebrating our camaraderie and preserving the sanctity of our worship spaces. It is in recognizing the duality of our vocal expressions in these sacred spaces that we find a deeper connection with the divine. During the hymnal renditions, our combined voices become a tapestry of sound and spirit, reaching out to the Lord in a harmonious prayer. Conversely, during sermons or reflective moments, we are encouraged to shift into a mode of silent reverence, allowing the tranquil melodies to foster a space of spiritual contemplation and inner peace.
Occasionally, our leaders remind us that we are essentially in the presence of the Lord, especially during sacred ordinances and the offering of heartfelt testimonies. It is during these times that our communal responsibility to uphold a reverent atmosphere becomes most pronounced. We are encouraged to reserve our lively interactions for the foyer or hallways, thus keeping the chapel a haven for silent reflection, a place to engage in a deeper, silent communication of the heart, exchanging warm, quiet smiles and nods of understanding.
Our shared affirmations and the confirming “Amen” at the end of talks or prayers become potent manifestations of our communal spirit, resonating as testimonials of our faith and mutual respect. These moments of vocal harmony, a collective endorsement of our shared faith, become a pathway to forging a deeper connection with the divine, a joyful noise rising toward the heavens.
We remember the vivid illustration from our Savior, Jesus Christ, in John 2:13-17, a call to maintain purity, respect, and focused spiritual intent in our places of worship. It is a practice that fosters humility and mirrors our commitment to honor the sacredness of our gathering places, embodying our dedication to walking closer with our Heavenly Father.
In nurturing a spirit of reverence, we are not just enhancing our individual spiritual journeys but enriching our entire community. This respectful approach allows for a ripple effect, where each individual’s commitment to reverence encourages others to follow suit, fostering a deeper and more fulfilling relationship with God.
As we tread on these sacred grounds, may we remember the examples set by spiritual leaders and scriptural teachings, being mindful to foster a welcoming environment that facilitates a profound connection with the divine. Let us immerse ourselves in the spirit of reverence, open to the divine whispers guiding our paths to enrichment and spiritual depth, united in our quest to find tranquility and divine connection in our sacred spaces. It is a call to cherish the sanctity of our holy environments, to foster a Zion-like society that is receptive to divine inspiration, and to honor the Lord with a spirit prepared to receive the enriching presence of the divine in all its forms.
Whispers of Reverence
In sacred halls where silent whispers weave,
With reverent hearts, the earthly clamors leave,
We share a melody, in union believe,
In sacrament, our spirit finds reprieve.
With respectful nods, a silent acclaim,
In holy spaces, we softly proclaim,
We honor God, with flames of spirit tame,
Through covenant, we magnify His name.
With raised voices in hymnal symphonies,
We craft a prayer that travels gentle breezes,
In reverence, a divine bond appeases,
As harmonized intent to heaven eases.