What places are important for the religion?
by Kendra Hotz
acknowledge one God as creator of all that is and believe, therefore,
that all things point toward their creator. The
world, as John Calvin put it, “is the theatre of God’s
glory.” For this reason any place may become the arena for
God’s self-revelation and, in a sense, all places are sacred.
Nevertheless, Christians recognize certain places where God has
become known in special ways, and these places take on special significance
most important of these places is the space designated for the worship
gathering of the community. Often Christians set aside a space,
a sanctuary, which is used exclusively for worship. In other instances,
the space may be used for other purposes when the congregation is
not at worship. In the early church, and in many places throughout
the world today, Christians gathered in members’ homes for
worship. In all cases, the designated space is honored as the space
where Christians gather to worship with the expectation that God
will meet them in that place and become known to them as the scriptures
are read and as the bread and cup of communion are shared.
cities where central events in the history of the faith have taken
place also hold special significance for Christians. Cities and
towns where important events in Jesus’ life happened—such
as Bethlehem where he was born, Nazareth where he was reared, and
Jerusalem where he concluded his earthly ministry—have become
now Istanbul, houses the ecumenical patriarch for the Eastern Orthodox
churches. Rome, the seat of papal authority, is of special importance
to Roman Catholics. Protestants look to Wittenburg, a city in Germany,
where Martin Luther sparked the Protestant Reformation when he posted
his famous “95 theses” on the church door, inviting
debate about the nature and extent of papal authority.
©2006 Kendra Hotz
G. Hotz serves as Adjunct Professor of Theology at Memphis
Theological Seminary. She formerly taught at Calvin College. Hotz
is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and coauthor
(with Matthew T. Mathews) of Shaping
the Christian Life: Worship and the Religious Affections
(2006) and coauthor of Transforming
Care: A Christian Vision of Nursing Practice (2005).
from What Do Our Neighbors Believe?: Questions and Answers on
Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Howard Greenstein, Kendra
Hotz, and John Kaltner are used by permission from Westminster John
Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky. The book will be available for
purchase in December 2006.