On the mind of the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser

Mar 7, 2024

Last week I discovered a meditation room at LaGuardia. It was the first one of these I’d seen in an airport – right next to a set of restrooms, a “pet relief” room, and a room for moms to nurse their babies. The meditation room was a bit sterile, unsurprisingly, with a few of the same chairs you’d find in other parts of the airport plus a pile of prayer rugs on the floor.

I took a seat, closed my eyes, and started a breathing exercise combined with a prayer mantra – “Yeshua” (Jesus’ name in Hebrew). A few minutes later, a gentleman entered. He grabbed a prayer rug and laid it presumably in an eastward direction. I concluded he was Muslim and about to start one the five daily prayers of Salah. Immediately, the spiritual energy in the room heightened.

Another Muslim man entered about a minute later and had a brief conversation with the first one. Then they prayed together. They were strangers, united by faith in a shared practice of familiar words and movements, their rugs a mere six inches apart in a tiny, cramped space. The spiritual energy in the room, and in me, rose even more, so that it radiated from my chest through my entire torso. I felt so privileged to be near such religious observance.

The men left after 10 minutes, and I took my leave shortly thereafter to catch my flight. I hope to return to that meditation room – Terminal B near Gate 11, if you’re interested – for years to come. I imagine that, over time, it will truly feel like a sacred space upon entry, charged by the presence and prayers of people of faith who have stopped in, if only for a moment.

The chapel at New York-Presbyterian Hospital feels this way to me. Every time I visit a patient there, I go into that chapel, where I know people of all religions have poured out their hearts to God, pleading and often in pain. It’s as if their faith has seeped into the walls.

Do you feel something when you enter our sacred space here at Incarnation? I do. Our church building has been here since 1864. That’s a lot of prayers, praises, rejoicing, mourning, and sacramental power in worship. Thank you for adding to this glorious mix with your own prayers and worship of God in this place. It is a blessing to us all, and to the generations that will follow.