At the time of writing this paper, leading evangelical and Roman Catholic Christians were beginning a legal challenge to the prohibition of communal worship during a period when Covid-19 infection rates were rising dramatically. Their arguments are considered in this paper. What is striking from the reports of their actions is the striking absence of what I call ‘the sacred’ amidst their considerations. Through a largely personal narrative outworking of Rudolf Otto, and then more traditional expository consideration of Martin Buber and John Zizioulas, I look at ‘the sacred’ in worship from a number of perspectives. I then advance the proposition that ‘the sacred’ is so crucial in worship that intentional fasting from, and sacrifice of, communal interpersonal worship, is the decision that Christians must make if ‘the sacred’ is not to be brought into disrepute.
Gillies, R. 2021, 'Sacred presence – persons, place and communion sacrificing communal and interpersonal worship so as to sing the Lord’s song in a strange land', International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1474225X.2021.1997037