I slowly walked up the aisle, my eyes on the deep red carpet below. Each step marked off the pathway to the familiar pew where my family sat each Sunday. Not looking where I was going, I almost bumped into my brother not one small step ahead. He genuflected, which caused me to stop my daydreaming and look up. In that moment, I saw with clearer eyes than before the altar surrounded by the communion rail. And somehow I understood a little more why the sanctuary was sacred.
Deep reverence and respect were expected by all when approaching the sanctuary. Silence, as well as, a deep genuflection were outward signs for recognizing God’s presence. I believe I understood just a little bit of the hype and holiness as I waited for my brother to sit down. Looking up allowed my eyes to catch the large crucifix where Christ hung. As a seven-year-old, I began to form my own ideas of sanctuary. Since then, I know the words, safe, holy, and sacred are still words I use to describe sanctuary.
In Hebrews, we learn more about the sanctuary.
For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Hebrews 9:24
Growing up in church, I was taught that Jesus’ presence is in the sanctuary. I understand now the reason for the outward signs of reverence when approaching the sanctuary. But as an adult, I know Jesus is present everywhere. There is not just one place where we go to find the presence of God.
There are days I seek the sacred. A place that feels safe but also where I can sit with God without interruption. Where I can dig into the deep and hear from God. A place that renews my spirit and calls my heart to embrace the love of God which I know is mine. But when I look for the quiet place, I ultimately know it is wherever and whenever I invite God into my day. The actual place becomes irrelevant and instead, the focus is completely on God.
It is in the seeking and invitation we enter into God’s presence. His will is made complete when we sit with Him in our sacred place. Sanctuary is no longer just the place in church surrounded by a communion rail. It is everywhere we seek the presence of Jesus.
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Nehemiah, when he heard of the plight of his people in Jerusalem began to weep.But then he called on the Lord.
Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.” Nehemiah 1:11
May I be quick to turn to Jesus and enter into His presence when faced with any life situations. And may my heart hear the truth of God’s promises as I look to Him for provision.
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