Growing up in Youngstown, OH. I never felt truly safe. Some of that was because of the particular street I grew up on and some of it was because of my family environment. I know some kids in those type of situations adapt and sadly soon exemplify their violent environments. Not me. At the time I was a book worm and nerd. I didn’t get into the “wrong crowd” until middle school and then I was fearless. That was of course until my parents became Christians, started forcing me to go to church and I was then around the Bible and Gospel message was being proclaimed. And then I became afraid again. But not of the physical things around me, but the spiritual. I became afraid of where I was heading with the sin I was involved in and the truths of the world and it’s consequences. I remember becoming a Christian in High School and still feeling like my city, my school, my friends that I was still trying to reach was a dark dangerous world. And I remember always thinking that the church that first shared the Gospel with my parents and with me was a safehouse in that dangerous world. A lighthouse to the dark world around me.
It looks like the author of Psalm 122 had some similar thoughts about God’s people and the place that He sent them on pilgrimage. It’s why he says:
7 Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!”
8 For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, “Peace be within you!”
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good.
Right now we have several people in El Salvador on a Mission Trip and I remember hearing so many people from the churches we ministered with last year saying how true that was for them. Many would even hang out at the church all day to get away from the gang ridden villages and communities they lived in. It was a spiritual AND physical refuge.
Do you look at church as a safe house and sanctuary of sorts? You should. We may be imperfect people and yes, we’ll have our fair share of drama but as indicated in this article it’s either a lighthouse or a landmark.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor