I had an opportunity to visit Marsh Chapel which is located in Boston University, and the experience I got from the visit helped me to understand the connection between spirituality and sacred spaces. From the moment I entered the compound of the church, I realized that the environment was quiet and the music playing from inside the church was soft and gentle. Marsh Church is located in a quiet side of the university, and the relaxed environment shows that this is a religious place. Marsh Chapel, just like other sacred spaces has a more significant part of its compound laid with stones which hopefully illustrate that the chapel was built a long time ago. From the outside, the church looks neat, and it is painted brown. There are few trees at the entrance of the church and in the church compound. In the church compound, there is a statue, and just outside the building, an American flag has been erected. There is some writing on the floor outside the chapel which shows that the chapel belongs to Boston University. People from the road nearby can access the church by walking straight, and there is no gate. The trees around the entrance of the chapel make a person feel relaxed, and their smell brings a sense of a natural environment. Just like other sacred spaces, Marsh Chapel has an entrance which is labeled to guide people who need to enter the chapel for worship.
At the entrance of Marsh Chapel, there are writings at the upper side of the door, and the writings therein are, “DANIEL L. MARSH CHAPEL.” Perhaps these writings show the origin of the name of the chapel. Before you get to the entrance, you have to walk some stairs since the entrance is at a raised place. From the doorstep to the inside of the church, the pathway is inclined, and a person needs to walk down the ramp to get to the inside. The entrance is positioned at the back of the chapel, and when you enter the building, you see the pulpit directly in front of you. There is one central pathway which is relatively narrow and besides the path, there are chairs which have been arranged in rows. The walls are painted white from the inside of the chapel. There are tall walls which accommodate two sets of windows. There are a total of eight walls on each side of the chapel, and that makes them 16 in total. The glass windows are however tinted with blue and red colors, and the amount of light which enters the interior of the building is limited. The lighting of the chapel is a little bit dim, and at the front, it is brighter compared with the other sides of the chapel. The chapel has no ceiling, and the roof is visible from any point of the building. The chapel has been well furnished, and the window which is placed at the back of the church looks like an altar window.
Most of the members of the Chapel were the youth with a few elderly people. This is because most of the people found at Boston University are young people. The race of the members of Marsh Chapel varied significantly. The chapel is located at the heart of Boston University and in this region, people from around the world have come to seek higher education. Most of the people I saw around the church seemed to be needy in some way and their faces were grieved. When looking through the pamphlets at the entrance of the church, the main information contained in the pamphlets were advertisements for events for homeless communities and street children. Therefore, I think Marsh Chapel is concerned with helping the less privileged in the society and promoting spiritual nourishment. Furthermore, when looking at another pamphlet, the information therein indicated that the church is important in promoting the spirituality of people by helping them understand the ways in which God works. This family-of-faith has been helping many people to understand why they need Christ.
The core purpose of Marsh Chapel was to connect believers with the supreme being and through this connection of spirit, people find relief. All the people in the chapel were silent and were focused on the preachings by the pastor and the choir. Moments of silence are witnessed in the faces of many people since they believe they have come to a sacred space where the presence of God is. The culture of this sacred space in Boston University is a culture of love, kindness, and patience. Religious beliefs influence all these aspects.
The experience of the attendants of the chapel services indicated that they wanted to cleanse themselves to attain righteousness and holiness. These people seemend to have many problems an they found solace at the feet of Jesus. There was hope in their faces and this signified that they had found what brought them to the chapel. Whether these people found rest from their burdens of sin or afflictions, their old feelings were replaced by new beliefs and feelings. This was a true feeling of a sacred space. The main focus of Marsh Chapel is religion. The people who come here are Christians whose faith in God demands that they must worship. The chapel encourages activities such as confession, praying, singing to God, and meeting godly friends to share the Word of God.
Marsh Chapel is considered a sacred space since it serves a religious purpose. The sacred space is meant for people who want to receive solace at the feet of Jesus, and the quiet environment inside and around the chapel represents the tranquility which should be found in any religious sacred space. Another proof that Marsh Chapel is a sacred space is the way people seem to be relaxed and calm when they are in the chapel. People from different races visit the chapel from time to time. Sacred spaces should change people’s lives by giving them hope in adversity. Marsh Chapel has a community that is moved by the calmness found in the surrounding. Most people here are free, and from their behavior towards each other, it’s evident that they are concerned by each other’s burdens and life challenges.
The thing I found most interesting about Marsh Chapel is the feeling a person gets while inside the chapel. I felt like I had gone to heaven when I head the choir sing beautiful hymns to God. The preaching in the chapel was also great, and I enjoyed every bit of the words of life. I also love the conducive environment in the chapel including the monument, the trees, the architectural design, and the windows. The altar was also inspiring, and I felt amazed by the look in the faces of the believers who were gathered in the chapel. However, I felt a little uncomfortable by the way the chapel was lit, and the dim lighting didn’t fascinate me. A sacred space should be well lit to allow all people to see what is happening around them. It was a great experience visiting Marsh Chapel.