I love churches so much, that I stayed overnight at Rutgers Church on Friday night.
I was a chaperone for the youth group, about 17 kids from ages 10 to 17, for a church lock-in. We played Charades, made candle holders, played whiffle ball. We sang together in the sanctuary with the lights off. (My kids and I tried to teach the group the song, “Sanctuary,” which we sing really well! Is that bragging? So be it.)
Our pastor Andrew spoke a little during the sanctuary time. He had made barbed wire to show us and talk about. We discussed barbed wire’s purpose — to keep people and animals out. Andrew talked about growing up in a country surrounded by barbed wire.
He talked about how we have to be the candle light within the swirl of barbed wire.
“This is the symbol for the organization, Amnesty International. They take a stand for people who are in jail needlessly. The light means a lot to people who are living in barbed wire countries or who are living in barbed wire. We can be their light,” said Andrew.
When we blew out our candles we were asked to take the light within us. To keep a light for human rights burning. The fun of the sleepover, the depth of it shone through. The kids and parents are such a great group.
Church is community, I’m coming to see. It is not simply sitting alone in a dark place midday praying. It happens at night and when one is away from the sanctuary too. It happens when we try to take sanctuary with us, create it for ourselves, our neighbors, the world.