May your home be a haven of blessing and a place of peace.

From a prayer of blessing in the United Methodist marriage liturgy

Sanctuary. First thought is often a large, high vaulted room for worship. Look deeper, and sanctuary encompasses so much more: safe keeping, growing relationships, purposeful furnishing, meaningful space. Furthermore, sanctuary means a place for others to find peace, shelter and safety.

At the heart of sanctuary is relationships. The relationships are multi-dimensional, encompassing every aspect of your home: spiritual, interpersonal, spatial and material. Exploring these relationships, I hope to inspire you to value your home's worth to you, your family, and all who enter. 

Spiritual Relationships: In what ways do you relate to higher beauty and order in your home? Do you have books, objects or art that lift you beyond the mundane and ordinary? Music and art often intersect with rush and clutter to bring us to a place of joy or appreciation. In our homes we can breathe in a spirit of wholeness, becoming one with ourselves in relation to the source of our grounding, confidence and hope.

Interpersonal Relationships: Do the relationships among people who live together deepen in understanding, empathy, shared experience, and justpeace (the interconnection of justice with peace)? We do not have to see things alike to grow in these things. We can be in different places and still grow. The key to growing closer is honoring the other and knowing that problem-solving is more than either-or thinking. When considering your house as a sanctuary, also remember relationships with people who come and go, like the plumber or the house cleaner. May all feel blessed in your house.

Spatial Relationships: How does light flow and air move between things? Through principles of feng sui, some people arrange their home to enhance flow of energy and light.  Other people move things around until it "looks" or "feels" right. However you place things, intentional or random, how our space breathes makes a difference in our energy. Fear or loss of control cause us to shut paths of light and energy while openness clears paths. When cutter grows,window shades close, beginning a cycle of hidenness which manifests in fear and shame. Our relationship with our space makes a difference in our health: mental spiritual, and physical. 

Material Relationships: What is your relationship with the material things in your home? Within a sanctuary, things are chosen and used with specific purposes. From furniture, to candles, to art, to books, there is a purpose.behind their presence. However, once my brother-in-law interviewed to become pastor of a particular church. When he asked why they kept an old pulpit and chancel table and chairs in the back of the sanctuary, they could not give him a clear reason. To Andy, this was a warning flag about the church. Although they spoke about future growth, their commitment to material possessions indicated they were stuck in the past. How do your possessions most reflect where you are going? where you are stuck? where you have been? 

The core of sanctuary living is internal. It is the place where you live transparent to yourself with your creator.

Our danger is to think that happiness will come from outside of us, from the things we possess or the power of our group, and not from within us, from the inner sanctuary of our being. 

Jean Vanier, L'Arche community


Peace and blessing,