At the Gate: Inviting Space

Sitting at the gate, we experience the sacredness of space. Some see space as protective, living with a “keep your distance” mentality. And of course, there are times when that’s good advice. In a dangerous world, space can be a necessary refuge. But as a philosophy of life, it withers the soul, depriving us of the nutrients which we receive when space is a bridge rather than a barrier.

I am glad there are traditions which begin by viewing space as inviting rather than threatening. Reading an excerpt from Christian Dillo’s book, ‘The Path of Aliveness,’ his words reignited this vision, “When I was introduced to the view that space connects and began to observe the world in this way, I found many ways to enact this new view.” [1]

The Christian tradition is at its best when it teaches that space is inviting. Believing that, we use the space between knowing and unknowing to learn. We use the space between ourselves and strangers to make friends. We use the space between here and there, between this and that, to have experiences and make memories which last for a lifetime. Inviting space enriches us.

And that brings us to Christmas. The space between heaven and earth was bridged as “the Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14). God never viewed space as threatening (even though there was suffering to be found there), choosing instead to dwell among us in a “tent of meeting” in the wilderness, a temple in Jerusalem, and as Immanuel in Jesus. God drew near in that inviting space, and we are encouraged to draw near to God (James 4:8).

God gives us the vision to see the sacredness of inviting space. May we have eyes to see the blessedness of life when we move into it rather than away from it.

[1] Christian Dillo, ‘The Path of Aliveness’ (Shambala, 2022), 50.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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