I was leaving dance rehearsal at my church a little over a week ago. When I got into my car and inserted the key into the ignition, the music came on, lights on the dashboard, but the engine did not make a sound. I blew the horn, checked the gear shift, but nothing happened. After doing a couple of other maneuvers, I flagged down a couple of the musicians. They attempted to give me a jump, but sadly my car refused to start. Finally, I called my husband to request an escort home. Over the next week, I was fortunate to have our daughter’s vehicle to drive. Actually it was a blessing because gas prices are on the rise, yet her car does not require the high octane fuel that my car insists. There was only one problem. I could not play my iPod, which has my music (those who’ve become familiar with this blog understand my necessity for music). For an entire week, I was blessed to have a vehicle to drive in the interim. However, a critical piece of my daily experience in one methodology I’d become accustomed to was missing.
Some folks use their vehicle to get from one place to another. That’s a foundational reason for me as well, but riding in my car for me is a worship experience. My music is essential to take me into the presence of God. Songs that enable me to reflect upon the day ahead, the day as its unfolding and particularly, the end of the day as I travel home. In my car, an ordinary day can transform into an exceptional day, and a difficult day can enhance my faith while I am reminded of the awesomeness of the God I serve. I suppose you can say that my vehicle serves as a mobile sanctuary – ushering in the presence of God, enabling the Holy Spirit to be my co-pilot through the navigation of life’s trials and triumphs.
My car did not become a mobile sanctuary overnight. I was always taught or rather recommended to establish a space/place in my home to take refuge, to pray, to meditate, to create, to listen to the voice of God. I have a place that I use for this purpose, but not as often as I’d like. I still take refuge, pray, meditate, create and listen to the voice of God, but more and more I realized that the recommended space was actually in my car, my mobile sanctuary.
Throughout the course of the week, my soror had a very unexpected death of a young person in her family, three students were murdered in Chapel Hill for what is unfolding as a alleged hate crime, a sexual assault was reported on a campus, a friend is unsettled about a job she accepted and what she perceives it represents and normal challenges emerged within my work environment. Nevertheless, in every instance, I attempted to do what I’ve always done, encourage, affirm, love on, embrace, pray and support each person that I encountered that was affected by life. We are reminded of the importance of such practices in 1 Corinthians 3:16 whereby we are told, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” Often through the most horrific experiences, we are granted the opportunity to show ourselves as the temple of God thereby giving hope, love and faith to those who are empty. What a blessing to be in a space to offer something tangible to humanity experiencing life as abstract. in each encounter, God enabled me (as he does you) to serve as a sanctuary, a mobile sanctuary if you will to provide refuge, safety and shelter for others. However, we can only do that when we make ourselves available and vulnerable. We carry God with us, inside of us, everywhere we go. We must not miss the opportunities that avail ourselves to the use of the Master for wherever we find ourselves.
Like my car, we don’t become mobile sanctuaries overnight. Our trials cultivate and perpetuate our faith in unimaginable and yet difficult ways. The challenge of peace we experience today may be connected to the peace that someone else needs years from now – through us. Our challenges, albeit inconvenient are uniquely designed for the atonement and reconciliation to God through tragedy and disconnection and inklings of abandonment.
I was reunited with my car exactly one week after it elected not to start. It ended up being an issue with my key. When I got into my car, and immediately heard Sovereign God by Maurette Brown Clark belt out, I began to weep. I wept for each of the situations I’d been allowed to serve as a mobile sanctuary, while riding in my mobile sanctuary. Before I knew it, my weeping transitioned to worship, and I offered praise to the rock of my salvation, reminded ever so gently that He is never far away, I take him wherever I go, and so must you. We need each other to serve as mobile sanctuaries housing the presence of God, connecting to the awesomeness of God, and offering the peace of God. Carry on.