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Posts Tagged ‘#sanctuary’

One of my favorite theologian’s name is Laverne.

She is female, I think. I do not know her age. I presume her to be Catholic. She is wise, and funny, and sarcastic (oh, how I do love sarcasm). She is not human. She is not even alive. She, my favorite theologian, is Laverne, one of the three gargoyles from the Disney movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (and the only one whose voice comes from a female).

Some of the things that she taught me are :

“… take it from an old spectator. Life’s not a spectator sport. If watchin’ is all you’re gonna do, then you’re gonna watch your life go by without ya.”

these (physical) chains aren’t what’s holding you back”

“We just thought maybe you were made of somethin’ stronger.”

“Fly, my pretties! Fly, fly!”

But my favorite teaching from Laverne the theologian was, “nobody wants to stay cooped up here forever.” She says this to the bell ringer, Quasimodo, who had spent his life being ‘safe’ in his cathedral tower. Inside the walls of the church he had all he needed. He had friends (the gargoyles), he had food, and clothes, and … sanctuary. He was protected from the evils outside of the walls of Notre Dame.

But, was he living? Was he fulfilling his purpose?

It was not until Quasimodo left the sanctuary of his bell tower that he could taste and see what life among the living was like. It was in learning to risk, and love and lose that he learned that he had something to bring to the world, beyond the safety of his church walls.

For me, this lesson is one that I want to hold on to. I too enjoy the sanctuary of my church. But, it is in my leaving this place of sanctuary, that I bring what I have, in Christ, to the world. If I stay ‘cooped up (at church) here forever’ I then am not allowing God to use me, as his vessel through which he might speak to those yet to choose life with him.

When we, who profess the Christian faith, surround ourselves with only those who share our belief system, we have forgotten the words of Jesus:

“And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” Mark 16:15

This is the great commission, this is our commissioning, from Jesus, to take his word, his light into the world … it is why we are here, our purpose.

So, I challenge those of you (and me) who find sanctuar

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Sanctuary

The news of the murder of forty-nine Muslim worshippers, in their sanctuary, makes the hearts of all worshippers break … for we all know the vulnerability of associating with a belief.

The fact that these people were attacked in their place of worship, their sanctuary, makes it seem an even greater violation on humanity and of hatred.

A sanctuary is a safe place, a place where those who feel they may be persecuted or harmed may go to be protected from the world and it’s laws (separation of church and state in a very practical way). I cannot hear the word sanctuary without hearing Quasimodo declaring it in the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

For blood to be shed in a sanctuary is a particularly devastating and cruel violence.

In January, bombs were detonated at a Catholic church in Jolo, Philippines, killing twenty-three. Last fall almost a dozen Jewish worshippers were killed at their Pittsburgh synagogue. An article at www.nbcnews.com documents numerous such killings over the past decade.

Sanctuary is not just a place, it is also a state of being … one that is birthed in our faith, one that is borne out of shalom, a peace that passes understanding.

The freedom of a sanctuary, freedom of religion is a precious gift. Our faith ought to be a place of sanctuary … our sanctuaries places of worship to the one in whom we have put our faith.

Freedom of religion is a gift that we have in many, but not all, places in the world. Even where we have been given that gift, it can still be violated.

So, what do we do about such hatred, such violation, such violence? We go to our sanctuaries, we pray, we worship … we take advantage of this freedom that we have. And we remember those who are hurting, those whose lives have been turned upside-down by such horrors.

We pray for them, we pray for us.

“Worshipers never leave church…
we carry our sanctuary with us wherever we go.”

Aiden Wilson Tozer

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