What’s Sacred, Anyway?

Finding the sacred – the holy, the wholeness, that which is of God – is a journey outward, into the connectedness of all creation, all faiths, all people.  It is also a journey inward, into the center of our own essential being, that part of us that is closest to God, where God dwells in us.

We seem to be born with a need to seek out the sacred (though we may call it by many different names or by no name).  People of all faiths and of no faith find the wholeness that is the sacred in nature, in light and color, in sacred places, in words and images, in other people, in symbols, in beauty.

The sacred is personal, cultural, and universal.

The sacred is  that which points to or reflects God – God within us, God around us, God everywhere and in everything.  This is what is universal in the sacred.  This is what connects us all, in every faith and in no faith, to God in whatever way God has revealed Godself to us.

Every culture, every faith, has its own icons or emblems of the sacred.  The dome of a basilica, the minarets of a mosque, the spire of a cathedral, the ghat leading down to the sacred river, the river itself, the prayer wheel, hymns and songs of remembrance and praise, statues and paintings of sacred subjects, and other such symbols are not holy in themselves but are sacred in that they point to God.  Each culture’s emblems thus become sacred to that culture, with a holiness reflected from God.

Beyond the symbols of our faiths, we find the sacred in our own lives and surroundings.  A flower opening, a baby’s smile, the sun shining through leaves, the sound of wind chimes, the scent of incense, a particular song or place or view may become holy to us.  Here is where our personal and individual relationship with God finds expression.

If we find any one of these three aspects of the sacred, we are drawing nearer to God.  If we can find all three, our lives are immeasurably blessed and our relationship with God deepened.

Look within, look around, look beyond.


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