Thursday, March 23, 2006

Shelter in the Wind

In the last few days the power of the wind was seen when a BC Ferry hit a rock in the night and sank. Passengers tossed and huddled in life rafts, being pelted by rain, until they were brought into safety.

A phone call has just come in of a woman whose life is being pelted by the rain, whose anchor in life is being severely strained in the midst of this storm she is surrounded by. She needs a shelter, somewhere soft, inviting and quiet to curl up and hide, and to know it is safe. Watching those you love be robbed of health is agonizing and its own kind of torture – because you are helpless to change this course. Perhaps Linwood House will be the shelter in the storm for her this weekend.

Emails have come in asking for prayer for those in places of desperation. Another asks for our understanding while she retreats to grieve after the slow death of her husband – 6 years of agony and pain which will not go away in the next few months. We need a shelter to grieve, a safe haven to heal in these times.

Yet is the shelter only required in the storm? Perhaps I should change this word to sanctuary – is it only required in storm or the “dark night of the soul” to quote John of the Cross? Sanctuary, as defined by Merriam Webster:

Etymology: Middle English sanctuarie, from Middle French sainctuarie, from Late Latin sanctuarium, from Latin sanctus1 : a consecrated place: as a : the ancient Hebrew temple at Jerusalem or its holy of holies b (1) : the most sacred part of a religious building (as the part of a Christian church in which the altar is placed) (2) : the room in which general worship services are held (3) : a place (as a church or a temple) for worship2 a (1) : a place of refuge and protection (2) : a refuge for wildlife where predators are controlled and hunting is illegal b : the immunity from law attached to a sanctuary

Sanctuary as defined here is for safety, for intimacy, for celebration, worship, protection and refuge. Linwood House has been, and is held out as holy ground and sacred space. As we continue to hold it this way, the fullness of sanctuary continues to unfold to us, for us and within us.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Journey Update

The Journey never ceases to amaze me: our own journey yes, but The Journey here at Linwood House when the house is full of voices, questions, laughter, tears, searching, resting, pacing. When old friends and new friends come from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, and Jen and Sue lead them in their time together for 3 days, we are given a new and wonderful look at beauty. We see beauty that has survived the horrors of living on the streets, and we see how betrayal has deeply wounded them. Yet together we see courage and compassion in each other as we hang out together here at Linwood.

In this past Journey, Sue and Jen shared about the imprints of love that God makes on each of us. Heart prints was a symbolic part of the time – what are the prints on your heart? What are the imprints of the Almighty that we can see in each other?

Every piece of creation has an imprint – leaves, flowers, rocks, there is no end to them. With rose petals scattered over the table by Jackie the theme of imprints also reached the meal table.

A rose
A flower that is whole
Yet really in pieces
Each with its own imprint
Each piece with beauty
No matter where it lies

Your life pieces
My life pieces
Each have their own imprint
And even though they seem broken
Each one holds beauty.

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