“Home is supposed to be a place of security, the last resort of refuge.” author Janvier Chouteu-Chando, “Disciples of Fortune”
In an age in which small churches are more often converted into airy homes or trinket shops, we had the rare pleasure this weekend of welcoming a “new” place of worship into the world. The chapel is historic enough to have Civil War soldiers buried just outside. It is remote enough that some of those attending were misled by their locating devices into driving places most vehicles should not go.
Yet, we all got there and we worshiped and fellowshiped in a place where there was no need for stained glass. The only view through clear windows was tree tops beneath us and blue sky above. We were literally above the cares of this earth.
As if that was not refreshing enough, I noticed somewhere between the opening prayer and a sumptuous lunch in the belly of the building that we were oddly electronics free. There was no sound system in this long-shuttered place. The sanctuary was small enough that what was said or sung could be heard by human ears. There was no screen scrolling song lyrics or scriptures in our face. A couple of phone photos were taken, but no one was live streaming anything.
It was just a moment, a sweet sanctuary moment between God and the 40 or so people who gathered inside. It will live only in our memories. And, that is enough.
Electronics have their place. Scale and the desire to “share” push their use ever deeper into our lives. But, this weekend reminded me it is more than OK to push back. Hard. Not only in the church sanctuary, but in our homes.
The latter is a constant battle. We have never allowed devices at the dinner table, but wi-fi has brought “work stations” of some sort into nearly every room of our home. I am the designated hissy-fitter. If I find phones or, even worse, laptops strewn about, I move them to a small table in the kitchen where no one seems to be able to find them without assistance.
“This is our home, not an office complex,” I then say. Various family members may snarl a bit, but I’m not backing down. Just like a church sanctuary is a, well, sanctuary, our home is a refuge from the clamor of the world. E and i are probably in both places to stay, but they don’t have to be in our faces every minute of every day.
Try it if you have not already. Carve out times or places that are device free. You may find yourself floating deliciously above the cares of this earth. Sanctuary.