Sacred Space

Kyriacos Markides mentions a discussion he had with two colleagues and friends in Maine:

After an evening talk on Eastern Orthodoxy at the Orono Methodist Church, the organizers and I walked to the local pub to continue our discussion related to issues of faith and worship. They lamented the fact that few young people from the university community attend church these days. In order to attract students they initiated a program in which a rock band played in church every Friday night. The band would set up its stage next to the altar and play rock with religious lyrics. Few students, however, attended those concerts. They asked my opinion on how to attract more students to the church.

Why, I asked, would students come to church to hear religious rock and not attend the real thing at a rock concert?

But the lyrics are Christian, my friends pointed out.

Sacred music, I argued, comes from a different source. Those who compose such music are spiritually inspired. I suggested that a first step to make the church more attractive to students was to create an atmosphere whereby when a person entered the church he or she experienced the sacredness of the space. Rock cannot do that.

The church has to offer a clear distinction between the ordinary “profane” world and the realm of the sacred so that a person who enters the church will leave the “profane” world behind.

Kyriacos C. Markides, Gifts of the Desert: (New York: Doubleday, 2005), p. 122.

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About Fr Joseph Gleason

I serve as a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois, and am blessed with eight children and one lovely wife. I contribute to On Behalf of All, a simple blog about Orthodox Christianity. I also blog here at The Orthodox Life.
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