Friday, December 06, 2013

Finding Sanctuary

Working on my column for next week. The date of the issue is December 11 which is three days before the first anniversary of the mass shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
So I'm writing about the community Christmas concert in Pugwash that was held on Friday, December 14, 2012, the day of the shooting, how it went ahead as planned, how it was rendered more beautiful and more poignant because of the unimaginable tragedy, how it was an example of what the light is and how we must keep it burning.
But most of all, when we needed some place to go to be together, when we needed sanctuary and solace, hope and healing, we found it at a church. And it didn't matter what denomination it was, it didn't matter that all denominations were present because our gathering was about community.
I love the play on the word "sanctuary" -- the church sanctuary, a place of sanctuary. Where everyone is welcome and taken care of when horror and grief overwhelm us.

This prayer was posted on Facebook by my church denomination. Although it reflects what I am trying to say in the column, it doesn't fit in anywhere so here it goes:
May the place of my trust be where my hope finds sanctuary. Amen.
The column comes out three days before the anniversary of that massacre but, better, two days before this year's community Christmas concert in Pugwash. 7 pm at the United Church.
That's where we all found hope and peace, joy and love last year...and we'll find it all again in the same place, the same sanctuary, next Friday night.

(I'm also aware of the anniversary marked by today's date. I was a second-year university student when the Montreal massacre happened. December 6, 1989 -- this is the 24th anniversary of that terrible day.)

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