sanctuary

literally “a holy place,”

a place “set apart” for
birds and creatures
grasses and trees,
to grow in safety
as they were intended,
free from human
exploitation and greed,
that they might continue
to glorify their maker
by being what they are,
and, in so doing,
to worship.

more commonly,
a place “set apart” for
conspicuous religious expression,
the singing of songs and
the reading of sacred texts.

in truth, the meanings are
the same, as
“worship”
is nothing more
than the enjoyment of
God’s good world,
our own place within it, and
the acknowledgement
of his good gifts.

for, as those texts tell us,
this universe was created
to be God’s sanctuary,
his cosmic temple,
his holy “place.”
that it does not function as such,
so that pieces of it must
be labeled and protected,
is a failure only of those he entrusted
as “priests,”
tasked with its care.

that there is greed, violence,
corruption, hatred, and evil
is a sacrilege, a
desecration,
of God’s place of worship.

I,
for one,
am looking forward,
eagerly,
to its final restoration.
when, as St. Paul said,
it is finally released from
its bondage to decay,
and
we, too, are raised to walk
in new bodies,
on a restored earth
where those who live,
acknowledge him as king,
honor his temple,
and worship him in spirit and truth.

Until then, we,
with all of the cosmos,
must groan as in the pains of childbirth
clinging to these first fruits
as we await our revelation
as his children–

as we await the restoration
of these bodies in his new
sanctuary.

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