20 July 2007

Outside, Inside

Outside the highway runs. An interstate. The traffic roars along it day and night. Semis shake the ground as they head north toward Chicago or to St. Louis and points further south. It's hard to hear the birds sing or even hold much of regular conversation (at least, to one whose hearing is not the best).

But inside. Inside the doors of the church, inside the doors of the nave. An eternal peace. Christ looks down upon you. Your Good Shepherd, the One who stands at the door of your life and knocks, waiting to share His Eucharist with you. Christ, the hands raised in blessing over you. Inside is peace. Many saints have offered their prayers here across the years and you feel instinctively when you cross into the room that here is not a place for idle chatter. Here is a place to off-load your burdens to the One who promises to share His yoke with you. Here is a place to hear your Shepherd speak and to receive from Him words of life and for Him to give into you the body and blood that once died for you upon Calvary's tree and can never die again - the promise of resurrection. Sanctuary refers properly only to the area around the altar under the great arch, but to pass into the nave itself is to realize that here is sanctuary - a place of refuge where the Avenger of Blood cannot touch you. A city of refuge in this world, a place of peace, inviting you to step off that highway that races along until death and find in the quiet and calm of His eternal peace the hope, the joy of a life that never ends.

We can't live in that room, but we can live from it. The more we nourish our souls with the peace that it bespeaks, the more we can move back onto the highway with that peace still alive in us. And then our hearts are changed, for through them run "the highways to Zion."

1 comment:

Matt said...

When I was in seminary in St. Louis, we would drive up I-55 to go home during term break. Whenever we would pass St. Paul's, we would stare extra long at that beautiful church on the highway. My wife and I always thought that church looked just like a church ought to look.

BTW--Sofia is home from the hospital...apparently it was a virus that had to run its course. Last night was the first night in nearly a week that we all got some good sleep! Thanks for your prayers, Pastor!