Safety Pins and Sanctuaries

First of all, I'm going to start off by saying this is not a political post. I try very hard to stay out that arena because this is another blog about Jesus and NOT another blog about politics. I even have a degree in political science and chose to walk away from that arena the day I graduated from college. So with that said, any comments placed on my Facebook feed or in the Twittersphere that have the tiniest bit of nastiness towards me, others, or my Savior will be removed because I can do that. Troll elsewhere, please.

In the wake of the recent election and national events a couple of movements have gathered steam in the US. One such movement is the safety pin movement. In short, folks are choosing to wear a simple safety pin on their clothing to signify to others that they are a safe person if you are someone who feels threatened. Specifically, the safe people want to welcome those who feel threatened because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or immigration status. People are even adding safety pins to their profile pictures on social media or hashtags like #safetypinsolidarity to their tweets.

Sanctuary cities are the second movement making headlines this week. This is the idea that many cities in the country disagree with new administration's plans or policies about immigration and deportation. Several cities like the District of Columbia, Tucson, and San Francisco are vowing to protect illegal immigrants and their families from deportation and seek to give them a place of safety and provision. This concept is not new to this election cycle, the concept developed many years ago as immigration policies were reformed or were enforced.

Regardless of what our opinions are of these movements or the people behind them, one thing has been made very clear to me in the past week: People are living in fear. I am not going to debate whether they should or shouldn't feel that way or if there really are or aren't valid threats. Sadly, we have witnessed despicable behavior by many and whether we like it or not perception becomes reality. This is where Jesus comes in.

The safety pins and sanctuaries are beautiful pictures of welcoming people and hidden safe places but sadly, people and places can never make us completely safe. God shows us from the very beginning that people mess up or sin and because of that other people get hurt. Even one of the first municipal projects recorded (The Tower of Babel) failed miserably because while the intentions were good (one common language), the results were horrible (people seeking to usurp God's position).

In John 16, Jesus begins to prepare his followers for His coming death and resurrection. He prepares them for coming sorrows and weeping but also joy that will follow. He is referring not only to His death and resurrection but the world they will live in afterward. He's telling them about the world that future generations will inherit; the world we live in today. Jesus finishes His message with this well known statement, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Whether you are a believer or not, we can all agree we have tribulation, some translations say, "trouble". Just look around, we have trouble and there was trouble long before last Tuesday and there will be trouble long after. But take heart!

What about those safety pins and sanctuaries? Won't they help? Maybe a little. But if I can be honest, I can't get fully behind those ideas. Not because I don't want to love people or help them feel save but because behind that safety pin is a flawed human being who might hurt someone even when they don't mean to and that sanctuary city is still held together with red tape. As I thought about safety pins, I thought about how they are attached to the clothing by piercing the fabric and piercing brought me right to Jesus.

When Jesus was pierced to the cross with nails in each hand and through both of His feet, He bore the weight of every sin man would ever commit so that those sins would not be held against man ever again. Whether you believe it or not, deep down we all want and know that people should be held accountable for their actions. God knew that, too. So He made a way for all of those despicable things to be removed from us. It was not only sin that Jesus sought to bear for us but hurt, shame, fear, and despair. He allowed Himself to be nailed to a tree so that we could run to Him for safety and peace.

As for sanctuaries, there is only one in which we are free from fear. It's the sanctuary where God reigns on His throne. He has never left that throne and He sits there now waiting for us to join Him by way of praise and worship. Jesus, no longer dead, sits by His father at the right hand. Revelation 4 and 5 give us a glimpse of the throne room where thousands sing and worship, where all is well and we are told we will weep no more. The beauty of God's sanctuary is that we have access to it now through God's spirit when we rely fully on Him. We don't have to wait for death.

Psalm 82 is so beautiful and provides the sweetest picture of safety. It begins with, "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God." Don't we all have a longing for safety? That's what I am sensing from everyone, no matter the side of the fence. There's a longing.

Finally, I'll leave you with part of my favorite Psalm.

Psalm 91:3-6 says:
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

I pray you will meditate on His words and promises and seek His safety today.