Sanctuary: a response required through scripture and tradition
Deacon Nancy Key
(From the Friday Reflection 19 May 2017)
The Episcopal Church defines Sanctuary as a “Holy place, usually the worship space of a church. …. Historically, a sanctuary would be a place of safe refuge for criminals or fugitives. This is also known as the right of sanctuary. It is based on the understanding that holy places such as churches are not subject to the powers of this world.”
Our Friday Reflections in 2017 focus on the theme of stewardship, the stewardship of ALL of God’s creation. And, as followers of Jesus, we are also watchers of Jesus who teaches us that our individual stewardship includes – especially - the poor, the sick, the lonely, and the imprisoned. For me today, the one of the faces of these we are called to steward is those living in fear of deportation. In the coming weeks we will look at a number of ways that we as faith communities might respond to our call to stewardship through some form of sanctuary.
If we have any doubt about whether the church should be involved in the sanctuary movement, I suggest that we turn, as people of faith do, to our own Scripture and Book of Common Prayer.
Life as a follower of Jesus is messy. We cannot claim to love Jesus and yet fail to keep his commandments to extend love and hospitality to aliens as Jesus did. This requires our full participation to discern the ministry to which we are called, also contemplating our secular and legal obligations.
By the grace of God – for we cannot do this on our own power – we make our baptismal promises. Our response can only be, “I will …. with God’s help.”
Deacon Nancy Key