We had a wonderful moment a few weeks ago to reach out and love someone looking for warmth and a safe place to rest. A young man was walking down Hwy 51, shoeless, in the cold of a Monday night. He looked up, and down the hill, he saw a light. He came to the light and rested on the porch until the cold penetrated too much. He pushed the front door of the sanctuary and was able to force it open with little damage. He looked for a blanket but must have not looked too hard, because there were blankets stored behind the piano area. He saw the Lenten purple scarf on the cross in the front and took it off. He didn’t touch money or sound equipment that he could have stolen; instead he turned up the thermostat, wrapped the scarf around him and went to sleep on one of the pews near the front door. Tuesday morning, one of our members noticed the slight door damage, called a trustee, and the two of them cautiously went into the sanctuary. After checking for any damage near the front, they went down the middle aisle, finding no damage. They found no damage and no loss of equipment. What they did find was a sleeping young man curled up under the cross’ scarf. He had followed the light and found sanctuary in our sanctuary! That’s why we are here: to provide a sanctuary of peace, warmth and light where others might rest and be comforted from the harsh world around us. God is so good. We have been asking Him to clarify why we are here. We have been asking God how He wants to use us to extend His kingdom, fulfilling what we pray every Sunday: “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done!”
But that’s only the beginning of this story. We can learn much more from how our members reacted to the revelation that our precious building had been broken into. After discovering the sleeping young man, they did not wake him. Rather, they left and called the police. When the police officer arrived, they told him that nothing had been stolen, and that they did not want to press charges that would prevent this young man from having a future, like a felony that would hinder him from having a successful future. They entered the sanctuary again and woke the man. The policeman found out some of his story and, noticing his thin body, one of our members went to the kitchen and got him food to eat. Then, as the officer was getting ready to take the man to the police station, they committed to providing him with shoes, warm clothing and anything else he might need. You see, they realized that God provided them with this moment to bless someone else who had no shoes and no warm coat. They were Jesus’ hands, reaching out to care for another in need.
We've just come through the Easter season. At this season, a couple of thousand years ago, the one true living God reached out to all of us. He saw our needs and sent his Son to die so that every need we could ever have would be taken care of, starting with taking care of our sins, transgressions and iniquities that separate us from God. When our sins are covered by Jesus’ blood, we can hold up our heads, live, and have a future. But, we must recognize our condition: that the world around us saps warmth and life from us. To survive as we travel the roads of this life, we have to look for THE LIGHT shining in the darkness where we can find warmth and rest: THE SANCTUARY provided by our Father in heaven through Jesus Christ his Son.
Do you know your condition? In the book of Revelation, Chapter 3, Jesus talked to the Christian church in Laodicea. Jesus said, “You think you are rich and need nothing, when actually you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked.” Knowing our present condition is crucial for life. OR, are there people you know who don’t realize their present condition and need to be awakened to their need for a sanctuary? God has called Pennington Chapel to be his sanctuary, and it is here for everyone. Invite your friends to come, find comfort and warmth. Discover the sanctuary you have been searching for all of your life!