Galatians 6:7-10 (NRSV)

7 Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8 If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9 So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. 10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

Galatians 6:10 (NRSV)

10 So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.

DEVOTION – Roland Peter Rink (Gauteng, South Africa)

Recently we spent a weekend with friends at an elephant sanctuary, a place of safety and rehabilitation for animals that have been orphaned by hunters, removed from the herd because of erratic behavior, or rescued from situations where they were abused.  Like humans, elephants are family oriented; removal from the herd is traumatic for them.  The sanctuary aims first to create new families of these large, gentle animals and then after a few years to reintroduce them to their natural environment.  This process requires much patience.

This visit to the elephant sanctuary made me wonder anew about the true meaning of “sanctuary.”  We often use this word to refer to a physical location, but I think it has a spiritual meaning as well.   Churches as sanctuaries can create a new family, constantly drawing in and nurturing new members.  But too often our sanctuaries are merely sanitized places where we can feel comfortable every Sunday for an hour or so.

We can transform our churches into true sanctuaries by welcoming orphaned, abused, and marginalized people into places of safety and nurture.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:As members of the family of Christ, we can create a sanctuary for one another.

LINK2LIFE:To see pictures of the elephants, go to devotional.upperroom.org/blog.

PRAYER: Dear God, help us to work together to create places of acceptance and love for all of your children.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN ABUSED AND MARGINALIZED.

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