I have yet to find a church in my new city. Although there have been weekends I have been away, most times I have struggled with the desire to look. I didn’t feel like I had the strength or energy to walk into a new church with unfamiliar faces trying to make small talk with complete strangers.
Truly, I know there is nothing to be afraid of. Finding a new church will mean making new friends in a city where I feel isolated - people with the common beliefs, worshipping together. It means finding a sanctuary.
The concept of ‘sanctuary’ came up recently in a social work training that I attended. The idea was to create a safe environment for clients to heal, understanding that they have encountered a trauma in their life. When I think of a sanctuary, I think of a place where you can go to feel safe, to find peace, love, solitude, and comfort. The church should be this type of safe environment as well.
The church can find the model of ‘sanctuary’ in God Himself. Isaiah reminds us that God is truly a sanctuary. In Him, we can find safety, peace, love, solitude and comfort.
“I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand… For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”
Isaiah 41:9-10, 13-14
So as I enter into the 7th month of living in a new city, I am renewed by the words in Isaiah to amp up the search for a church. I am reminded that I do not have to fear or be dismayed for God is with me in my journey as I continue my search for a new church.
So, Reader, help me. What do you look for in a church after relocating to a new place?
See you in the round!
*Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.