Bread — Sanctuary

May 15, 2013


Readings for Wednesday, May 15, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Ezek. 11:14-25; Heb. 7:1-17; Luke 10:17-24; Psalms 101,109,119:121-144

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From today’s reading from the prophet Ezekiel – “Though I removed them [Israel] far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the in the countries where they have gone.” Ezek. 11:16

Paraphrased, “Even though I [God] have taken you from your place of comfort and safety and transported you to a place you would not have chosen for yourself, and even though you are in trouble there, yet I remain a sanctuary to and for you, even in that place.”

Don’t you just love the image of sanctuary? A place in the midst of the storms of life, while we are in physical, economic, or emotional prison, stripped to the bare essentials – a place of rest, peace, safety and restoration – a sanctuary. A place where we can escape to in the midst of our harried lives. Is it any wonder that we often want to stay in the place of sanctuary once we have found it. Just let me hide O Lord! Just let me rest! Just let me take up residence under Your wing!

There is a phrase within our reading today that portends a shorter stay in sanctuary than we would want. That phrase is “for a while,” which can also be translated “in small measure.”

So God provides us sanctuary in small measure as we need it; enough sanctuary that we can rest and be restored but not so much that we disengage from the world where He has placed us.

Which is why the reading from Ezekiel is not enough. Yes, God provides us sanctuary. But He also provides us the ability to persevere in the evil day, fully exposed to its harshness and wickedness. In Hebrews today we read that Christ is a High Priest who powerfully intercedes for us all the time before the Father. In Luke we read about the power given to us by the Holy Spirit to overcome evil, all the while reminding us that we should not be glad to have power, but glad that our names are “written in heaven.” Lk. 10:20. In Psalm 109 we read that God also stands beside us, at our right hand, to save us from those who would condemn us.

God provides us sanctuary, He empowers us, He saves us, He provides us a great high priest to pray for us and to intercede for us, He stands beside us, He enables us to walk to integrity.

Sanctuary is not just a place but also a state of mind. It is not only a place for the body but a place for the soul. It is not only earthly, it is heavenly. It is no-where when we seek sanctuary; it is everywhere when seek God first.

Are you in the midst of exile or fear or hopelessness? God stands at your right hand. Sanctuary is close. Love is closer. See it, take it, live in it.

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© 2013 GBF

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