hills worth dying on: sanctuary

It’s the Easter season.

Many people use it as an opportunity to jet into a local church, sing some songs, snag some communion and jet out early to beat the traffic.

I apologize if that comes across as a shallow summary. I don’t apologize if it’s accurate.

Others use Easter as a springboard to something authentic. Perhaps they’ll return to church the following weeks. Maybe they’ll begin to intentionally reengage God.

After all, the typical person invests time this way:
  • 8 hours of work.
  • 6-8 hours of sleep, so 7 as an average.
  • 2 hours of general prep, clean up, showering and eating.
  • 1.5 hours moving around, be it driving or walking.
  • 1.5 hours catching up on tasks.
  • 1 hour with family… if you actually do this. The average dad, for example, speaks with his kids only 23 minutes a day.
  • 1 hour on a special project, be it around the house or at work.
  • 2 hours on a phone or computer (or any other time-consuming hobby).

If that’s your pattern, you’ll only give fumes to your faith… 

and ironically wonder why you don’t feel close to God.

What if you reclaimed that last bullet, though?

After all, it adds up to wasting a month every year (and a year of your life every ten years).

You could use that time for sanctuary – “a small, safe place in a troubling world. Like an oasis in a vast desert or an island in a stormy sea.”

Jesus Christ himself did this: 
“…each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives.” (Luke 21:37)

If that was a value or “hill worth dying on,” what might that mean for you?

Author C.S. Lewis described how he once entered into a dark tool shed to look for something. He noticed a crisp beam of sunlight unexpectedly invading the shed through a crack above the door.

Lewis stood there for a moment, noticing the dust dancing around in the light. Other things were passively lit up as well, but only from a sideways perspective.

He then turned and looked into the sunlight through the crack. The light was now directly in his eye, and he could see the larger world beyond the shed. Green leaves moved about with a deep blue sky behind them. The sun itself was on display… millions of miles away, but intense as if within reach.

These are the two ways we can look at life, people and even God himself:
  • By looking sideways along whatever light is available, only focusing on seeing things in our dark shed a little better.
  • By looking into the light and letting our eyes widen in the process so that even when we turn away we still see the light everywhere we look.

Think of it this way: Do you unconsciously regard God or other people as "extras" in your life who should get on board with your “right” way of doing things… or do you understand you are a participant in a much larger Story we’re all living in?

As a great poet once said: “That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

Easter can be about scratching your religious itch, or about you scratching the surface of something more enduring. Jesus will either be someone who can do something for us, or for the Savior of the world that we get to do something for. It’s quite the difference, and yet close enough that we can get it wrong.

Again, Jesus wasn't immune from this tension. It's why he regularly found a hill that he would find sanctuary on. Maybe you need to find that spot in your day where you pause and dive into Truth that combats all the lies life will throw at you.

Perhaps once you do that, then every hour of every day can become a type of sanctuary where through God you know and are known, understand and are understood, love and are loved.

Don’t waste time wasting time. Find a quiet spot today where you can sift through the noise in life and hear the voice of Truth.
“…each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives.” (Luke 21:37)

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