A Lasting Place

A Lasting Place

by the Rev. Dr. Sean Cox, Rector, Faith, Cameron Park

The heat wasn’t working well at Faith Episcopal Church in Cameron Park. Since we just had the units serviced, we called the technician who knows our system well. After performing the usual systems diagnostics that turned up nothing unusual, the technician suspected “fowl play.”

Exhaust vents protruding outside the building are attractive shelters for some types of birds. Although the vents were blocked, birds took up residence. Had they stayed close to the vent’s entrance, the birds and the vent would have peacefully co-existed. Unfortunately they chose the premium home expansion option—all the way into inner mechanisms of our heating system—which turned into a “dead end” for the birds and our heating system. An attractive looking shelter on the outside was toxic in the end.

Beyond literal physical shelters, what are “safe places” where people seek refuge from emotional and spiritual danger? The Bible contains rich imagery of literal and figurative shelter, from the tabernacle in the wilderness to the first and second temples in Jerusalem. All were destroyed. Other examples of emotional shelter depicted in scripture are relationships that turned out to be less than safe: Samson and Delilah, David and Saul, Jesus and Peter, and Paul and the church in Galatia are just a few examples. All of these relationships started well. All soured. They could not provide the safe shelter each party sought.

Christmas symbolizes God’s provision of safe shelter. The son of God was not born in a modern, comfortable birthing suite or the confines of a secure home. Jesus was born in a makeshift shelter, symbolic of the tabernacle of centuries past. Jesus would never know a truly safe shelter until after his crucifixion. The empty tomb points towards the only safe shelter we will ever know.

Our only truly safe shelter is located in the resurrection of Jesus. Every place we call home is temporary. Every relationship we experience is transitory. Only in Christ do we discover the safety we seek. How does God introduce us to this safe place? Not in luxurious quarters, but in straw and hay.


1 comment (Add your own)

1. Rod Davis wrote:
A fine message Sean. Just what I needed going into this busy Christmas week!

Mon, December 22, 2014 @ 11:17 AM

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