Usually we think of “sanctuary” as a place of safety and protection, but in this month’s Soul Matters theme we are invited to consider larger view possibilities. One such view is offered by Parker Palmer:
“When I was a kid, “sanctuary” meant only one thing. It was the big room with the stained-glass windows and hard wooden benches where my family worshipped every Sunday. Church attendance was not optional for my sisters and me, so that sanctuary was where I learned to pray — pray that the service would end, and God would release me back into the wild.
Today, after 77 years of life in a world that’s both astonishingly beautiful and horrifically cruel, “sanctuary” is as vital as breathing to me. Sometimes I find it in churches, monasteries, and other sites designated as sacred. But more often I find it in places sacred to my soul: in the natural world, in the company of a trustworthy friend, in solitary or shared silence, in the ambience of a good poem or good music. Sanctuary is wherever I find safe space to regain my bearings, reclaim my soul, heal my wounds, and return to the world as a wounded healer. It’s not merely about finding shelter from the storm: it’s about spiritual survival.”
The October Soul Matters packets offer materials to explore the meaning of “sanctuary” – as we consider how we experience it in our lives and how it is a part of our experience in community. We use this theme for worship and for faith formation in our RE program and chalice circles. The Soul Matters resource packet can be accessed here. If you need a printed copy, please feel free to take one from those available in the fellowship room or ask for a copy, if they have all been taken. You might also like to consider joining a chalice circle to share your insights and hear what others are saying – there are chalice circle flyers in the fellowship room with information about this program.
Wishing you joy in community, M.E. Tanabe