Saturday, October 2, 2010

Where God dwells on earth

There's a song I've sung for years but never until recently understood what it meant.

Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary,
Pure and holy, tried and true.
With thanksgiving, I'll be a living Sanctuary for You.

The problem was I never heard the words right. I always heard it as "Lord, prepare me a sanctuary. . . "

Missed two little words there.
Four letters.
Big difference.

I recall (with a little excitement) the moment the actual words registered in my head and I realized that this is not a prayer for me to get a sanctuary, but instead, for me to be a sanctuary.

I also recall (with a little embarrassment) the very first thought that entered my head with that revelation: "Huh??!!"

Even though I suddenly understood what the song was praying for, I still didn't get why it would pray for that.

Why would I need to be a sanctuary?
How does that even make any sense?
How does my being a sanctuary help me at all?
(How many of you can tell I'm an only child?)

But even as those questions flew through my head a second wave of understanding hit me and I knew the answer: "It's not for my sake (dope!), but for others. I'm supposed to be a sanctuary for them."

I immediately pulled out my nerd-pad (yes, I keep a memo pad in my shirt pocket) and began jotting some notes. They looked something like this:

But that's only because I'm left-handed and even I can barely read my writing.

Luckily, I was later able to decipher my notes. Here they are in normal human format:

What is a sanctuary?
- a place where God dwells in the world
- a place of safety & refuge
- a place where man can meet with God
This is supposed to be me!!!

And now that I see it, it's not just this song. This command/plea/privilege is all over the Bible. As a Christian I am personally called to be a Sanctuary of God and a sanctuary for others.

If the people around me who don't know Jesus can't see Him in me, where can they see Him?

If they can't come to me for the kind of peace, comfort and refuge that doesn't exist in this world, where can they get it?

If God's people walk through each day eminating no more light than anyone else, how will others be drawn to His glory?

I hereby confess that I've done a pathetic job to date of being God's sanctuary on earth. But I also hereby confess that since the day I discovered the prayer in this song, I've begun asking every morning that I might be the place in my world where God meets Man.