When ever someone mentions ‘sanctuary’, I often conjure images of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. A person who was shunned, hunted, and damned found solace in a church. This was the one place he felt safe, the one place he knew he was free from the harm inflicted by those who saw him as less than. It is not that he didn’t want to be a part of the vast and beautiful world that surrounded his sanctuary, but acceptance by the masses was hard to come by, if it existed at all.
The parallels to the world we live in now are heartbreaking. It is not just a story for 15th century France, but for today as well. Truly, there is always some form of this tale happening. The different, the alien, the unwanted are always among us. How do we offer them sanctuary? Many times, we are the different, the alien, the unwanted. How do we seek out sanctuary?
In our classes we’ve been taking this concept step by step. Some have examined the sacredness of our own holy space, our Sanctuary. We have looked at our own special light and how we would share that with people who seek the warmth of it. This has been reversed as well, as we look at those who have given us safe harbor and how that has affected us. There has been discussion on what it means to open your doors to immigrants and the challenges and blessings that come with it. All this will culminate with the Honoring Our Ancestors service on October 28. All these elements from throughout the month bring us to this sacred time together, hearing the stories of those who have come before us, those who have struggled, and those who will do what it takes to carry on.
We all have a story. We have all been shunned at some point in our lives. Whether it’s where you came from, or the color of your skin, or the person you love, or the religion you choose to practice, or… the list goes on. Let’s remember that we are all hurting, and no matter how grand or minor that hurting may seem, let’s help to lift one another up. Let us be lifted up. Let us be each other’s sanctuary.