Saturday, May 08, 2010

Sanctuary

“We can no longer be satisfied by simply being the Church for the poor from our position of establishment. We must realize that sometimes that very generosity, that very attempt to be good to other people, has kept us in a position of power and superiority. Somehow we must be of and with the poor, and then be ready for some mistrust and even criticism.” – Richard Rohr

The true definition of compassion is the ability to enter into the pain or suffering of another; not to fix it, but to experience it with them, to ease their sense of isolation and abandonment. That being said, Richard Rohr’s comment above seems to suggest that our tendency is to look at those in need and say to them, “Bless your heart” or “Poor dear!” Perhaps a better response, a more Christ-like response, is to embrace and express, “You and I are the same.” That's sanctuary -- unconditional love and acceptance.

We work to bind up the brokenness of others with an attitude of humility because this is the appropriate response from a community of faith.

At my church, we say that our mission is to Transform Lives through Connections. What we have discovered is that the lives being transformed are often our own. Not everyone "gets" it. Not everyone agrees. Some even think we are harming the church by paying so much attention to "those people," but that's OK. It's all part of the process ... it's all good.

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