I’ve been doing “church” a long, long time. I’m so privileged, humbled and blessed to report that after being everywhere on the map, in terms of “church practice” I’ve found something of real, living “sanctuary” in my present church home, Vineyard Community Church – Cincinnati, OH. I know Ronnie also enjoys the same (as he writes of here) at his home “sanctuary”, A Simple Faith Church, in Santa Rosa Beach, FL.
I praise God for these “safe places”, where broken, wounded, but genuine believers are practicing love, acceptance, and it’s inevitable handmaiden, the special presence of Jesus, the very epitome of love. In such cherished but unfortunately rare spots, people from every spectrum of life’s oft-tragic story are being richly bathed in the communication of the Father’s great heart of undying, unconditional, inexpressible, unsearchable love.
While I am no died in the wool traditionalist, not by a long shot, I sometimes have a bit of a problem with the words we now use to describe the places we gather together as the church. They are called “worship centers” or “multi-purpose buildings” or “auditoriums.” This is unfortunate. I much prefer the word used by our grandparents: Sanctuary.
Anywhere the church gathers, in a storefront, a gymnasium, an auditorium, or a thousand-year-old cathedral, that place should be a sanctuary. It should be a safe place, a place where people are welcomed into a better way to live and made to feel at home.
This welcome is far more substantial than saying “hello,” shaking hands, or sharing coffee and doughnuts in the fellowship hall (another questionable description of a church building). Maybe English Bible translator and martyr William Tyndale got closer to the mark when with his “plowboy”…
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