O God, you are my God; I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. – Psalm 63:1 (NRSVUE)
I went to two concerts this past week. I saw the same band both times, but in different locations. One of my favorite artists (a band called Switchfoot) is touring, and I have always wanted to see them but it had never worked out. They had two shows in New Jersey this past week: one in Montclair and one in Atlantic City. I had gotten tickets for the Atlantic City show long ago, but Wendolyn ended up having another commitment that night, so I went with Cade. At the last minute, Wendolyn had her evening open up the night of the Montclair show, though, so we decided on the spur of the moment to go to that show as well. One band, two nights in two different cities with two different people.
On the one hand, seeing them twice in a week made the shows fairly similar. Most of the songs were the same, and the personality of the band is consistent. Yet the shows were also totally different. Much of it was because the theaters were different. The theater in Montclair was an old one that had been refurbished. It was small, and was standing room only on the floor. The Atlantic City theater, on the other hand, was new and fancy. It is in a casino, so everything is designed to feel luxurious. Comfortable seats filled the audience area, and it sat about twice as many people as fit into the Montclair theater. The different space gave a completely different feel to the shows. The Atlantic City show had a formal feel, as the band was somewhat removed from the audience. There was definitely interaction, and even song requests accepted, but there was a clear line. A great deal of security was there to enforce the separation as well. In Montclair, on the other hand, it felt like a family sing-along. The lead singer wandered through the crowd while singing, one audience member got to play guitar for part of a song, and the audience convinced the band to change the planned set list a bit. Some of the difference was the people attending the shows, but most of the difference came from the differences in the physical space the concerts were in.
How does the physical space that you spend your days shape how you interact with God? If the spaces that we are in shape our interactions, then it stands to reason that the places where we go to encounter God will shape how we experience God. Do you have a particular place that you use for prayer, devotional time, or bible reading? Does that space make your time with God more intimate, more formal, or give it some other dynamic? If your time with God seems to be struggling, it might be worth moving to a different space for a while to see if that sparks any new insights.