In 21st century USAmerica the word "sanctuary" conjures up images of majestic buildings and rooms in which we worship God. But sanctuary has another equally important meaning. It is a safe place. We have bird sanctuaries where it is illegal to harm our flying friends. Churches and Christians over the years have often offered sanctuary to those who are being oppressed by the law. And the ultimate sanctuary is the place in the kingdom of God that has been offered to us through Jesus.
Before Jesus, we were captives of sin, separated from God by our own actions. Jesus came to earth and became a sacrifice that bridged the gap between our sinful souls and God. A brilliant illustration of exactly what Jesus did for us is found in the Disney animated classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame. If you want to understand the type of "Sanctuary" we are going to be talking about for the next 40+ days, this clip says it all. We are all Esmerelda, bound in chains and facing the fire- until Jesus came to save us and offer us the sanctuary that is the love of God.
Remember, Lent begins on Wednesday. Tomorrow I will offer some suggestions on what you might "give up" for Lent this year. Join me!
He is Risen!