One of the hot topics of discussion and controversy today centers around the word “sanctuary”. In New Mexico we have both cities and counties that have designated themselves as sanctuaries either for illegal immigrants or for gun owners. People think of a sanctuary as a refuge or a safe place, and that it is! The word has even deeper meaning, however, when taken in its biblical context, where it is found hundreds of times in the Old and New Testaments.
  For us, a sanctuary identifies a holy place, a place of worship. In fact one of the first commandments God gave Moses after the children of Israel escaped Egyptian bondage was concerning a sanctuary. God said, “Let them build me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8) Then He gave detailed instructions for this sanctuary, which they called a Tabernacle. Later there was a Temple built for worship, and beyond that, the church, which is God’s “spiritual house” on the earth.
  So we welcome you today to this sanctuary. It is a place of refuge and safety as we celebrate together the Almighty God’s presence!