Good Friday. Great Lesson: Protect Your Sanctuary

In pulpits near and far today, preachers have recounted the somber events of that first Good Friday a couple thousand years ago. They’ve talked about what happened on a hill called Calvary. That’s how many referred to it — not just Calvary, but “a HILL called Calvary.” Calvary is so special in the Christian tradition, that it has its own song aptly titled, “Calvary.”

Someone, somewhere sang, “Calvary, Calvary. Surely He died on Calvary.”

It seems in this last week of Lent, the places where events occur matter almost as much as the events themselves. Whether it’s Golgotha, Calvary’s other name, or The Cenacle, also known as the “Upper Room” where Christ holds the Last Supper or the Empty Tomb where Christians believe Jesus returns to life Easter Sunday, those places themselves have come into their own monumental significance.

In this way, the devout join events and locations in a sort of dual sanctity. The venues themselves become sacred. Not unlike the Passover homes marked with lamb’s blood, certain settings may become sanctuaries where even the very spirit of death is forbidden to enter.

Well, why stop there? If some inanimate room, or hill or tomb can be a sanctuary, what about those personal spaces within ourselves? Each of us – devout or otherwise – should have our own sacred, internal places where we dare not let others tread.

We should declare our hearts and minds off limits to certain people.

Too often we let others trample through, scuff the walls, abuse the furnishings and generally make a mess of our insides. We allow others’ uninvited opinions and ill-will and negativity to come in, sit down and become comfortable. And most often we have only ourselves to blame.

A week ago, I shared some personal stuff with someone who then responded with a barrage of judgment disguised as advice. That person’s words became much more unsettling than the original circumstance itself. Making it worse: I hadn’t invited that individual’s opinion in the first place. Or at least I didn’t believe so.

In retrospect, I likely did invite that unwelcome response by sharing too many private details with the wrong person. Not everyone is entitled to know everything about you. Some things belong tucked away in your most private rooms marked “authorized personnel only.” And, only a privileged few deserve authorization.

The same holds true in matters of the heart; our emotional bandwidth is most efficient when it’s narrow and unclogged by so many unworthy users.

Whether it’s advice, love, information or education, we should take every precaution to guard what gets in. That starts with choosing carefully who may enter your sacred space. It’s not that you’re standoffish, secretive or aloof. It’s merely, that you’re protective of the peace within your sanctuary.

(c) Copyright 2014, Jonathan Clarke All rights reserved


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