Your sanctuary is
where your sanctuary is.

I have several.
My house,
filled with the people I love.

My yard –
sky ceiling, changing cloud patterns,
grass carpet, clover, bare patches, toys.

My church –
o sweet refuge,
my church.

My church, my place of love,
of smiles,
of work,
of learning,
of burning,
of healing . . .

inbreaking Spirit,
outflowing Me.

You can’t tell a person where their sanctuary is.
Because it is where it is.
And that’s where they will go.

I have gone alone into my church’s sanctuary,
sat on the floor behind the pulpit,
and gazed at the cross.
I don’t understand,
but it doesn’t matter;
I know where I want to be,
and I am there as often as possible.

It’s not heaven;
it’s not perfect.
I have been deeply wounded there, actually.
But I have also been deeply healed.
The Spirit has not always moved as I wanted it to,
but it has always moved,
moved me,
and I show up again,
waiting for the next current
to push me where I need to go.

If a person who is discovering
that they are more different than they thought,
(oh God, what am I going to do,
what are they going to say,
who will love me,
where will I go???)
cannot come into the sanctuary
and sit on the floor behind the pulpit
and gaze at the cross
and not understand,
but know that it is all right –

it is not the cross’s fault,
it is not the building’s fault
and it is certainly not God’s fault;

it is the fault of the people making the rules
that keep the sanctuary
from being the sanctuary.

A club is a club.
A church is a church.
I’m not saying that our unexpected ancestors
should have been at church in the wee hours
instead of at a club,
dancing, having fun, seeking whatever they were seeking . . .
the same thing we all are seeking.

But if the club was the only place
where they could be themselves,
be seen, be heard,
move freely,
love exuberantly . . .

then we have turned God’s house
into a den of robbers
who have stolen something
that was never intended to be only ours in the first place.

The sanctuary
is a sanctuary
for everyone.

If it is not for everyone,
then it is
a pretty building,
a pleasant space,
but you better read the rules
before you enter,
or possibly
go someplace else,

because what you hoped would provide sanctuary,
your soul will soon recognize,
is no
at all.


Article originally posted on Lindy Thompson’s website HERE.

You may find Lindy’s previous Prayer for Beloved Community, HERE.

Lindy Thompson

Lindy Thompson is a lyricist and writer who has collaborated with Mark Miller on many pieces for choral and congregational singing. She lives in Franklin, TN where she and her family are members of Christ UMC. She blogs at

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