Ruth Everhart: When Sanctuaries Aren’t Safe | EerdWord

Eerdmans  June 29, 2015 Author Guest Posts, Book Meets World
Ruth Everhart: When Sanctuaries Aren’t Safe

By definition, sanctuaries are safe places. So when someone enters a sanctuary to do harm, people ask: Why?

Yes, Emanuel AME Church is the story at the top of our minds. On June 17 an angry young man spent an hour at a Wednesday night Bible study before pulling out a gun and killing nine wonderful people. The blogosphere is full of people attempting to answer: Why?

At the same time, there is a second story of an unsafe sanctuary. This event occurred across the ocean in Tabgha, Israel. On June 18, a group entered the Church of the Multiplication and set a fire. The roof went up in flames and collapsed, causing destruction. Smoke inhalation injured two persons.

The building was less than fifty years old, but the site has been a place of Christian pilgrimage for millennia. This is where Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. A Byzantine mosaic marks the spot where Jesus stood as he blessed the meal, laid out on a rock. Pilgrims come to contemplate the miracle and meaning of abundance, and to worship the One who gives it.

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