A Letter from Your Minister
Love is sanctuary,
a safe haven and place to rest.
Welcome to October and to our monthly theme of Sanctuary. What does the word “sanctuary” mean to you?
Does it conjure images of the places that offer you a sense of safety where you can truly be at peace? Perhaps sanctuary takes your mind and heart to the people with whom you feel the safest?
Anne Lamott once wrote that libraries provide sanctuary. In this October sermon preview, I offer her words:
My parents, and librarians along the way, taught me about the space between words; about the margins, where so many juicy moments of life and spirit and friendship could be found. In a library, you could find miracles and truth, and you might find something that would make you laugh so hard that you get shushed, in the friendliest way. There was sanctuary in a library, there is sanctuary now, from the war, from the storms of our family and our own anxious minds. Libraries are like the mountain or the meadows behind the goat lady’s house: sacred space. ~Good Friday world, Salon.com, March 28, 2003.
I think she’s right. Libraries and books (and “the mountain or the meadows behind the goat lady’s house”) provide sanctuary from life’s storms. And sanctuary is sacred.
We all need places where we can take refuge from the literal or metaphorical storms of life. When Hurricane Florence was said to be headed for us with more force than Hurricane Hugo, I decided to take the cat and dog to a hotel. There, we wouldn’t have to worry about trees coming down on the house.
As soon as I began to pack a bag, the dog asked to go along: “Are you going somewhere? Where? Can I go? I’ll go. Would you like me to go? I’m eager to go!”
The cat was far less interested, and it took two people to wrangle her into her carrier. I zipped it up and walked away for two minutes during which time she unzipped it and disappeared. Her only experiences in that carrier have been to go to places that didn’t feel safe to her–places like the vet where she’d be poked and prodded. So, she hid. And she hid good.
Attempts by three humans to get her back in that carrier resulted in hissing and scratching and even better hiding. After several hours, I took the dog to the hotel. I’d go back and try again in the morning, but in the morning, she was still hiding. I left fresh food and water and waited, but she had her own ideas about what sanctuary looked like.
I spent one night in the hotel with the dog, but I couldn’t endure leaving the cat. So, I went back to face the winds and rain with her, finding sanctuary in her presence despite the storm looming outside.
As the storm lingered for days, I thought of you– hoping you were in places of safety beyond the rising waters.
As summer fades and fall gives way to winter, may love and kindness provide you sanctuary and anchor you safe in this harbor of Beloved Community.
Peace to you,
~Rev. Mary Frances