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When you hear the word "sanctuary," what do you envision? What does it mean to you?

Tonight, let's take a few moments to consider sanctuary, and see how it applies to our lives. We may find some new meanings, and some new challenges.

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This morning in worship we sang an anthem titled "Come Dwell in Solomon's Walls." It quotes the scriptures about the completion of Solomon's temple, and then invites the listener to dwell in a place where there is wisdom, righteousness, and holiness.

As we sang, the word "sanctuary" came into my mind. I began to reflect on the meaning of that word: a place of peace, of worship, of safety. Would that all our sanctuaries were truly sanctuaries!

But then I thought about the second meaning, as noted by Wikipedia:

A sanctuary, in its original meaning, is a sacred place, such as a shrine. By the use of such places as a safe haven, by extension the term has come to be used for any place of safety. This secondary use can be categorized into human sanctuary, a safe place for humans, such as a political sanctuary; and non-human sanctuary, such as an animal or plant sanctuary.
We're all familiar with someone "claiming sanctuary" -- coming into such a place to be protected, to be safe, to escape harm.

Then another thought occurred to me. In one text, we are told that each of us is a living stone, and together we are being made into a temple. Is it possible, then, that one purpose of our lives is to be sanctuary for one another? Are we safe, are we at peace, are we the types of people that others can come to for sustenance, for succor, for gentle acceptance? Can someone walk up to us and claim sanctuary, and can we then provide it?


The floor is open for sharing. What's on your heart tonight?

Originally posted to Bruce in Louisville on Sun Aug 26, 2012 at 05:35 PM PDT.

Also republished by Spiritual Organization of Unapologetic Liberals at Daily Kos.

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