The Sanctuary is Open

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Our friend H has a heart to share the gospel with hipsters, liberals and new age spiritual types.  Her approach is creative, non-threatening, loving and inspirational as she tries to share about Christ in a language they would understand.  In this story, H shares about how a sleepover turned into an opportunity to pray over a friend.

It’s Saturday, and I’m spending the day with my dear friend Daisy. Daisy is a Jesus-loving, veggie-eating, cooperative-going, bicycle-riding, no-hair-brushing-but-definitely-leg-shaving (not that hippy), skinny-jean-wearing, classic-literature-reading, poetry-writing girl, similar to myself.

Daisy also tends to float around doing nothing in particular, working on art projects, and casually changing the world one person at a time.

Daisy and I are spending another day together, another day of being at peace with being, another day of sharing about our dreams last night and how our hearts are doing today, another day of loving the people who are put in our path.

Evening comes and she wants to make cheesecake. We don’t really have ideal ingredients for that, but she is going to be experimental with what we have. I text two of our friends- Margaret and Hal. “Daisy and I are making cheesecake, and we need someone to help us eat it.” Hal happens to be nearby our house so he happily comes over.

He gets to my house and he is all excited to explain to us what has just happened to him (he is a very talkative and energetic person). “I had to walk here because I drank a beer, so I couldn’t drive.”

“You drank one beer and you couldn’t drive?” I say.

“I haven’t had a beer in forever and it was freaking nine percent alcohol!” he explains. He then pulls out all his remedies- two expensive nutrient drinks and a special herbal pill from the cooperative to help with too much alcohol intake. “These will keep me from having a hangover,” he says.

The situation cracks me up but it also reminds of what a gem he is. Hal is one of the most socially, environmentally, and health conscious individuals I know. He can talk for a long time, and all his talking is about what’s messed up in the world and the way things should be to get set right. He’s set as many of these things right as he can in his own life, but still it’s hard for him to function in a world that doesn’t completely agree with his convictions.

Hal talks to us for quite a while about these things, and I’m learning from him as usual.

Then Daisy’s “cheesecake” is finished. I daringly take the first taste of the funny-looking substance. “This isn’t cheesecake,” I say. “This is flan soufflé.”

We eat our flan soufflé with raspberries on top while watching Oh Brother Where Art Thou.

Near the end of the movie, Margaret shows up, and we serve her some bona fide “flan soufflé.” 

“Would you guys mind if I stayed the night?” asks Margaret. She is working early in the morning, and she works right next to our house. We enthusiastically say yes. Then Hal speaks up. “Umm so, I’ve actually been sleeping out in a tent the last few nights in a friend’s backyard. I feel bad going home so late at night because they have kids, and I don’t want to wake anyone up closing my car door…” he trails off. (Hal house-sits as a means of shelter, and he is between house sits right now.)

“You can sleep over too if you’d like,” I say.

“Oh great!”

We set him up on a bunch of couch cushions with a sleeping bag on top, since he is way too tall/long to sleep on the couch.

Two of my roommates are gone for the weekend, so we have spare beds. Margaret sleeps in the single bedroom. Daisy sleeps with me in my king bed that I normally share with Oceana.

With the lights out and all our guests comfortably sleeping, Daisy and I are finally able to talk in whispers. “This is so great!” she says. “I know!” I say. We don’t need to explain; we both know what the other’s talking about. These people who we love, and have loved many a day, who don’t yet know where their place is in the world- these people have grown to trust us and to receive from us, to let us feed them, house them, and help them feel safe. We share the joy in each other’s eyes, and it’s a great joy. We begin to pray for them. For a long time we pray quietly in tongues and let the Holy Spirit show us beautiful visions about what he’s doing in each of their lives. We pray over their sleep and say, “Let the presence of God, that’s in this house, fill their sleep. Let them sleep in perfect peace and dream of heavenly things.”

The next morning, we wake up about the same time as Hal. Margaret has already gone to work. “How did you sleep?” I ask Hal.

“So well!” he says. “I slept like a baby.” It appears he has no hangover, thankfully. He walks back to his car and drives it back over so that he can make us coffee, and so that we can use the eggs that he personally collected from a farm he was house-sitting for.

We have a lovely morning drink damn good coffee that he made in some special coffee contraption- something between a pour-over and a French press- I can’t keep track of all the coffee revolutions these days. And damn good eggs too. And damn good salsa that he bought us from the cooperative on his way back over.

We decide that sleepovers are the best thing ever- way better than hangovers- and possibly better than pour-overs.

After he leaves, we walk over to visit Margaret in the coffee shack where she works. “I slept so well last night,” she says. “Sometimes the atmospheres of a place affects me a lot. I love being able to sleep in a place that feels like a sanctuary.”  

Come one, come all. The sanctuary is open.

Inspired by H’s story?  You can read more from H here.

Image Credit: flickr / Christopher Titzer