When we think of a "sanctuary," what is it that our mind visualizes? Perhaps you think of your own home church. It's interesting that every denomination has it's own particular style of architecture. One can almost identify and name it on site!
Webster defines it as a place of refuge or safety. It can also be a nature reserve. It can also be a church or temple. The root word sanctus is Latin, meaning "holy." The inmost recess or holiest part of a temple or church, containing the high altar. Ultimately, it is set aside (sanctified) for a particular and revered purpose.
I love studying the Old Testament and about the tabernacle. So many details contained in its construction; moving from tent to building. So many regulations to insure it's holiness. Even within the tabernacle/sanctuary is an inner sanctuary. The place of the presence of God! A place of reverence, power, instruction. The Holy of Holies. A place to intimately worship God Almighty! I like to think of the Garden of Eden as the first sanctuary. A beautiful, colorful place where Adam and Eve communed with God. Not in a building, or even a tent; but at the very heart of Creation!
This morning I took some extended time to visit the sanctuary right outside of my front door. Yes, my porch! It has been some time since I've had the opportunity to visit this sacred place. Today, I'd like to share my experience and time of musing and wonder.
Cool, brisk breeze.
Sweet music as birds lift their voice into the vast morning sky.
A sanctuary of peace.
Green, brown, gold and orange.
Blue, white, grey, and lavender.
Above, ahead, all around. Texture a many.
A sanctuary of oeuvre…serenity.
Water trickles from a bubbling fountain.
I cannot see it, but I hear it sing out a never-ending rhythmic song.
Wet. Splashing. Full of movement. Refreshing. Alive.
A sanctuary of gentle motion. Beckoning.
A fast pitter, patter along the fence tops as squirrels scamper, playing chase.
Then again up the old pine tree, and round and around.
Playful. Energetic. Carefree. Unaware.
A sanctuary of dance and frolic.
Slow-motion atmosphere filled with cirro-stratus clouds. Alto-cumulus reflect the rising of the sun.
Limitless expansion of open space. A gently changing canvas of beauty.
Baby blue backdrop full of wondrous light.
A sanctuary of muse, wonder and tranquility.
The smell of sweet olive, green dampness, and a cooked breakfast from far beyond.
Aroma that journeys throughout the area where I sit and then carried away.
A distraction. Sweet. Deep inhale, slow exhale. Filling my nostrils with delight.
A sanctuary of fragrance…harmony.
In the distance, noise pollution increases as humans are now awake and stirring.
The drone of roaring motors at interstate speeds, and passing vehicles disturb the quiet. Birds, as if now angry, screech! The beauty of the sky has turned into a simple palette of nothing but soft blue, no longer filled with varied hues or clouds. Doors slam and the sound is amplified and carried amidst. Savoring smells have past. Heaviness now seems to fill this realm. Early morning has past. I cannot hear the fountain any longer and the squirrels have disappeared. The stench of car fumes invade my lungs.
Man! Destroyers of peace, creation, tranquility and rest.
Yet, “What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You care for him?” Ps. 8:4 and Heb. 2:6.
“What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning…”
As I sat and compared the difference a simple 30 - 40 minutes can make, my heart became sad. The heaviness that I now felt in the air began to rest on my shoulders as I began to think about the day ahead and the responsibilities for the week. Most days, I am also guilty of rushing through the morning. Disturbing the peace and rest of my own home! And the scripture above kept replaying and looping in my mind as though God was trying to tell me something important! Sherry, I am mindful of you. I care and tend to you because I have set my heart and my affection on you.
I visit you every morning! "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me." - Proverbs 8:17
I found the Lord this morning. He was displayed throughout all of creation as I sat quietly and absorbed all He had to offer me. Yes, there was a period of distraction and self-reflection. The early rush hour crashed in and then drifted out again like a giant ocean wave. As the early morning settled into late morning, I noticed the sound of the splattering fountain once again. The squirrels filled my yard and when I looked up at the sky, beautiful shapes and colors of clouds began to scroll past again. There was still a soft drone of traffic in the distance, but the cheerful birds drowned it out as a chorus of praise belted out of their little bodies!
And like David my heart cried out,
"O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You..." Psalm 63:1
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD;
in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” - Psalm 5:3
Yes, I visited the sanctuary today! I stepped into the Holy of Holies. That inner place where the presence of God sits and waits for us to enter in. That special and intimate place of communion between God and man. A place of refuge, safety, and worship.
If it has been a long time since you have intentionally taken extended time to hear from the Lord and be with Him, I encourage you to do so. You won't be disappointed and He will honor and redeem the time you took away from your busy schedule. He is mindful of you. He cares and tends to your needs because He has set His heart and affection on you. He visits you every morning. Won't you rise a little bit earlier in the morning to meet with Him? Take paper and pencil with you. Write your own Psalm to the Lord. Reflect on His goodness. Share and proclaim His great deeds to others (Ps. 105:1)
From the Sanctuary,
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