SanctuaryToday’s Word: ‘Sanctuary’ … as in an open and safe place where all are welcome.

I grew up in an era where the church, the physical building itself was never locked. Whether it was 3 o’clock in the morning or 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the place was open; anyone could go in, everyone was welcome to be there: it was a safe place. It was as if the church itself had a ‘hospitable heart’ so that anyone walking by, driving by, even running by could hear the church say, “Hey, come in here and find rest.”

The only thing that would have prevented access was a lock on the door.

Over time, of course, that changed. But then, and since, I couldn’t imagine someone from within saying to someone from without, “Hey, you can’t be here. This place is off-limits to you and others like you.”

All of this came into sharper focus as I read the letter from Patricia Lull, Bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA):

“We are living in a time when vitriolic words and hate speech have found their way into ordinary life. Tragically, such speech causes many to simply stop talking and has caused a few to act with deadly violence toward immigrants. Instead of engaging in a civil debate, it seems easier to react with broad generalities about others, their intentions, and the very dignity of their lives. In the Christian community we are called to do better than that. In fact, the very nature of congregational life, where we are called together by the power of the Spirit, gives us an opportunity to listen carefully and to speak respectfully with and about contemporary issues with those with whom we disagree.”

You can read the letter in its entirety here


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