Altars are great, and not just for Church! Have you ever thought of having one in your home? They are your special place for you and God. I used to have one all set up and elaborate. I used it all the time. And then winter came and the room where I had it was too cold so I just prayed in bed and stayed toasty. When spring came, with the Spring Cleaning, I got rid of it, gifting pieces here and there, because I got out of the habit of using it. Unused items tend not to stick around in my house. I thought to myself, ‘I don’t need stuff to worship God with’, which is true.
I don’t think it was the cold or the ‘stuff’ that was the problem with my altar. The problem was, it wasn’t my altar. It was the altar that reminded me of church, a cross in the center flanked by tall candles, white tablecloth, etc. You get the idea. It was an altar made the way it was supposed to be.
After getting rid of my altar something happened that I didn’t expect. A couple of small ‘altars’ started appearing around my house. The first small altar was on my TV stand. Right next to the TV I had put a charger plate. For every holiday I decorate that plate (It’s my only holiday decoration – except for Christmas). It is there as a constant reminder and sometimes prayer tool for me to commune with God.
The second small altar appeared on my desk. I like candles so I got this little tea light candle holder. I would light the candle when I was working. Then I started lighting it and asking God to guide me in my work. I noticed that sometimes during the workday I would be frustrated or stressed and I would just stare at the candle and mediate with God for a minute or two. The candle holder had a hinged lid so I eventually pasted a picture of Jesus on it so that I can see Him throughout the day.
Another popped up in my backyard. There was this Celtic circle sculpture that I have in my backyard. It reminds me of the empty tomb. One day, I was moving the furniture on the back porch and saw it and moved the bench over near it so I could sit there for a while, just be under the trees with God. It’s still there.
These small altars sprang into being organically and without thought, but that doesn’t make them any less of an altar than the big elaborate one I used to have. All an altar is, is a special place you set aside to be with God.
Do you need to have one? No.
Is it good to have one? I think so. It is a mnemonic device. It is a place you set aside as a reminder to just sit and be with God.
How do you make one? That is up to you. Do not make my mistake and think that if it doesn’t look like something that belongs in Church you did it wrong. None of my small altars even have a cross. Make it your way. It is for you, not anyone else. If you are not comfortable with it, if it isn’t inviting you to spend some time with God, then change it. If it doesn’t get used then why make it?
Am I going to make my special altar again? Probably. From time to time I miss it. So, yeah, it will come back, but the next time it will be for God and me and ‘no supposed to’s allowed.
Peace be with you,