Read Galatians 6:7-10
Paul wrote, “Whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.”
— Galatians 6:10 (NRSV)
Recently we spent a weekend with friends at an elephant sanctuary, a place of safety and rehabilitation for animals that have been orphaned by hunters, removed from the herd because of erratic behavior, or rescued from situations where they were abused. Like humans, elephants are family oriented; removal from the herd is traumatic for them. The sanctuary aims first to create new families of these large, gentle animals and then after a few years to reintroduce them to their natural environment. This process requires much patience.
This visit to the elephant sanctuary made me wonder anew about the true meaning of “sanctuary.” We often use this word to refer to a physical location, but I think it has a spiritual meaning as well. Churches as sanctuaries can create a new family, constantly drawing in and nurturing new members. But too often our sanctuaries are merely sanitized places where we can feel comfortable every Sunday for an hour or so.
We can transform our churches into true sanctuaries by welcoming orphaned, abused, and marginalized people into places of safety and nurture.
Roland Peter Rink
(Gauteng, South Africa)
Thought for the Day: To see pictures of the elephants, go to devotional. upperroom.org/blog. How can I give more generously to God?
Prayer: Dear God, help us to work together to create places of acceptance and love for all of your children. Amen.
Prayer Focus: People who have been abused and marginalized
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