Church has been a part of my life since my mom started going when I was 10. I'd been to church before that, but it wasn't an important part of my life. It was an occasional thing, like for Christmas or Easter or a weekend spent at Nana's.
But from the time I was 10, that all changed. My family was in church twice on Sundays and on Wednesday evenings. Anytime there was a special service or event, we'd be there. Basically whenever the doors were open, we were in a seat (or serving.)
Church has been a huge part of my life for many, many years. I grew up in the church. It molded me and shaped me into who I am today, and it continues to do so.
But for many, the church hasn't been such a wonderful place. It's been a place of hurt. Of broken promises. Of deceit, hypocrisy, and hate.
This morning as I was driving home from church, an old church song popped into my head that really spoke to me:
Lord, prepare me
To be a sanctuary.
Pure and holy,
Tried and true.
I'll be a living
Lord, for you.
This, friends, is what the church should be. A sanctuary. A safe place for people on the midst of the brokenness. A refuge which offers healing.
There are some folks who have been so hurt, so battered by the church that they'll never step back into a church building. Folks who want nothing to do with Christians.
As followers of Jesus, we have a long way to go to repair and restore the church's image.
The church - you & me - are to be a living sanctuary. A place of hope for our family and friends.
I don't know about you, but my prayer this morning is that I can be a sanctuary for those around me. I want to be a safe place for my family and friends. I want to be able to offer hope and healing to those who are in need of it. My heart longs to be a follower of Jesus who helps bring about mending broken hearts and restoring broken lives.
If you're reading this and have been hurt by the church, I'm so sorry. My heart grieves for you and hopes you will find a safe place where you can heal. That Jesus will mend those broken pieces of your life.
I hope you will find sanctuary here.
Have you found sanctuary? Are you a sanctuary for people in your life?