Miriam Webster defines a sanctuary as either a consecrated place for worship or a place of refuge.  I have found in my life sanctuaries to be central to my experience of God.

It is popular these days to hear someone say something to the effect of, “I experience God most at the lake/in the mountains/on the beech” etc.  I don’t discount the experience of feeling God’s presence in nature at all.  I get a special feeling whenever I can lie back out in the country and look at the stars on a clear night.

But this doesn’t take away our need for sanctuaries.  A sanctuary is a place that a group of people have set aside and dedicated for worship.  In that space, people offer up heartfelt prayers, consider God’s Word, and take the sacraments.  In some sanctuaries, people have done this for decades.  In others, people have done this for centuries.  Such a place is different even than the most beautiful spot in nature.

Can an athelete practice outside of a gym?  Yes.  Can a doctor practice medicine outside of a hospital?  Sure.  Can we observe proper dental hygene away from our bathroom sink?  Absolutley.   Can we get a good night’s sleep outside of our own bed?  Yes, this can happen.  Nevertheless, there is a something about human nature that when we give a space a special purpose and return to it again and again – it works for us in a special way.

If we truly want to be in communion with God and seek his will, it is incumbant upon all of us to choose a special space to do this (most preferably and I would even say centrally with others) and seek God there.  I have found over the years that God tends to those (or at least its easier for us to notice it) for those who set apart a special place to seek him.

What sanctuaries are special to you?  Do some stand out more than others?  What was it about a particular sanctuary that made you feel closer to God?

All the best and In Christ,

Tom Paine


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