... this place speaks of hope to those who are hurting...

I had a conversation yesterday that has continued to touch me profoundly. I was told that, "this Sanctuary matters - it matters to this town, it matters to our history - and most of all it matters to people who are hurting, down and have no hope." As our talk deepened, I was told, "Look, people who are self-sufficient don't get this place. But when you are down and wounded, you can feel a love greater than yourself here... and that makes all the difference in the world." 

I have felt that sitting in this place all by myself. I felt it, too the first time I walked into this Sanctuary. Serendipitously, it was nine years ago today that I candidated to become pastor, making this conversation and revelation wildly prophetic. Because, truth be told, I had never quite put it like this before:  "this place speaks of hope to those who are hurting and are at the end of their rope."  Those who aren't broken, don't get it. Those who think of this place as simply our historic church home miss the deeper wisdom and compassion of the architecture. And those who only listen to the bottom line are deaf to the voice of the Spirit.

Small wonder Jesus told us to stay connected to those who have been hurt and locked out of love by the elite. In the reworking of the Sermon on the Mount, Eugene Peterson puts the words of Jesus like this: You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

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