What’s Your Sanctuary?

At a recent meeting, our church staff was asked to share a place that was a sanctuary to them.

The answers were so lovely, I asked the staff if I could share them.

Here’s my paraphrase of what they said.

Now, don’t just read these.  Take a deep breath, and put yourself in these places:

What’s Your Sanctuary?

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“When I was just starting out, training to be a teacher, there was this little chapel I’d go to.  And I told myself, I’m starting out simple, like this chapel. Who knows where this journey will take me.  Sure enough, 8 years later, I found myself back in that chapel, but heading on to new parts of my life.”

What’s Your Sanctuary?

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“On Christmas Eve we’d go from our church, playing bells, to my grandparent’s house, where we sang hymns, and then to my grandparent’s church, where we’d all sit together.  There were so many family members, we filled up an entire row.”

What’s Your Sanctuary?

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“The church where I grew up had a loud, booming preacher.  He would really get everybody’s attention.  I still remember him, when I get stressed out, passionately hollering, ‘SURELY GOODNESS AND MERCY SHALL FOLLOW ME ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE!”

What’s Your Sanctuary?

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“I think about the Garden of the Gods in Colorado. It makes me remember my days of rock climbing.  I think of rock climbing as so spiritual.  You get part of the way up there, and there’s no going back.  You just have to overcome the fear and keep moving.”

What’s Your Sanctuary?

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“Here, at this church, the first time I ever went to a Taize service.  It was so calm and peaceful.”

What’s Your Sanctuary?

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“On my college campus there was a door at the library that I’d never been through.  One day I opened the door and discovered this tiny little chapel.  Just a tiny narrow room with a high ceiling and half-pews.  There was a small window cut into the front wall, and light drifted down onto the altar.  It was this little place of awe in the midst of all the business going on around.”

What’s Your Sanctuary?

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“For me, it’s a campground.  Spot #5 at Melvern lake.  Sometimes I’ll go there and do some work, and then take a break, and maybe swim, and just relax.  Lots of times there’s no one else around.  I’ve already told my kids that’s where I want my ashes sprinkled.”

What’s Your Sanctuary?

110 “As a teenager, I was playing music for a Maundy Thursday service at my church.  I was up in the choir loft, playing, looking down as groups of 12 people at a time came into the sanctuary to experience the last supper.  I played these wonderful hymns, and cried as I watched.”

What’s Your Sanctuary?

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“My grandparents had an old grove on their land.  It was where, for some reason, all of our old cars went to die.  There were 57 Chevy’s, T-Birds, all kinds of cool cars.  Me and my cousins would go out there and play hide and seek.  Other times, though, I’d go out there by myself, and read my Bible, and pray.”

What’s Your Sanctuary?

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“Listening to all of these, I feel like someone can worship God anywhere.  For me, I think of a time I was at a Promise Keeper’s rally at Arrowhead.  50,000 men all singing in the pouring rain.  I also think of this path down by the creek on my land, by myself.  And I think of a room full of people going through recovery together.”

Every one of these evoked in me a sense of awe.  Just like it says in Psalm 96:6

Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary

So that’s how a roomful of people at my church answered the question.

How about you?

What’s Your Sanctuary?

And have you made plans to spend some time there?

Have a great week,

Mitch

 

 

 

 

Hey Dustball!

Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. –Genesis 2:7

Hey Dustball!

Yeah, I’m talking to you.  According to Genesis, you and I are living, breathing balls of dust.  How does that make you feel?

Maybe you would have preferred God add a little sugar and spice?   Some moonbeams and stars?  Nope.   God just reached down, piled together some dust, and here we are.   That’s what we’re made of.

Funny thing, though.  Have you noticed how hard we work to stay clean?  We wash our hands so we don’t spread germs.  We wash our hair so it won’t get greasy.   We wash our clothes so they don’t smell.  We sweep and mop and Swiffer so there’s not a speck of dust on our floors.

Some of us even own dust busters.

Heck, there’s a robotic vacuum cleaner called the “Dust Ball”!   Isn’t that a little bit ironic?  Supposedly we’re made from dust, and yet we seem to be down right terrified of it.   It makes me wonder — do we live our lives running from our very nature?   Is it possible  God created us to be a little grungy to begin with?

I’m reminded of Pigpen from the Peanut’s comic strips.   Remember him? Now there’s a guy who is comfortable in his own dust.   Even on the rare occasions when he’d clean himself up, it’s like the dust would find him.   It was his natural state.

And it’s ours, too, after all.   Even if you don’t read the creation story literally, our modern-day fascination with cleanliness is only a few hundred years old.   Certainly, we’ve learned about germs and sanitation, and that’s propelled our need to bleach out any stains, but maybe it’s more than that.

Maybe we’ve convinced ourselves that the very earth we come from is somehow separate from ourselves.   With every lather, rinse, and repeat we may be trying to distance ourselves from the very dust we’ve sprung up from.  And if indeed that’s what we’re doing, might that create distance between ourselves and the God who created us?

Gardeners know it.  Farmers know it.  There’s something Holy about being connected with the Earth.  A little dust might do you and I some good.

So let’s go barefoot — just like Adam and Eve!  Skip an occasional shower, even.  Let’s plant some flowers.  Get some soil under our fingernails and be happy about it.

After all, Dustball, being connected to the Earth God created…

Is nothing to sneeze at.

Have a Great Week,

Mitch