The word conjures mental images: stained glass, wooden seats, an organ. It’s a church word. The space where Christians worship is called a sanctuary.
When I show up at a church building on a Sunday morning, the question I’m most ready to ask is “Where is the sanctuary?”
But being in a sanctuary is different than finding sanctuary. The challenge for today, though, is that fewer and fewer people want to know where the sanctuary is. More and more, people want to know if they can actually have sanctuary.
I’ve heard people describe miracles like a lightning bolt, instant, dramatic, so stunning you blink not sure what you saw, but that has not been my experience. In the hours after our son was born, he suffered a massive stroke that paralyzed his entire right side. It was five days before he was even stable enough for the doctors to run all the necessary tests to determine what had happened, and once they knew, the prognosis was dire.
Remember when you thought you could be a superhero? Remember those days when a blanket tied around your neck was all you needed to be able to fly and stop bullets? Remember childhood days spent dreaming of the future when you’d be an astronaut, or a ball player, or up on the silver screen? Remember imagining a time when you’d be surrounded by friends and contentment?
When did we lose a fascination with those possibilities?
Unplugging is an ancient practice. During the Christian season of Lent — the six-week period leading up to the Easter holiday — many people unplug from a variety of things. Some refrain from eating chocolate. Others give up meat on Fridays. Still more might refrain from alcohol, binge-watching or cursing at other drivers in traffic. Giving something up, or refraining from doing something, is often referred to as “fasting.”