There’s something cozy, comforting, and safe about having a place. Treehouses, forts, and the like exist, I think, because they offer the ones who use them a feeling of "Ahhh! This is cool!"  Or "Now I can finally relax."

In congregational life, different rooms in the church building become that way – for some it is likely the sanctuary. For some it may be a place like the youth room. Maybe even the kitchen. The places become sacred to the groups that meet in those places. In those places people find community. They find goodness. They find safety. And all of that is wonderful.

Until the place becomes one that serves to keep others out.

Clubhouses too often are less safe and comfortable places and more exclusive places where the unwanted are never permitted. They become "do not trespass" territories where no one without the proper credentials or password or power may enter. Treehouses, forts, sanctuaries, youth rooms, and even kitchens become that all too often.

Clubhouses shouldn’t be the places where all one wants to do is keep the unwanted out.

In this week’s Bible reading from John 17:6-21, Jesus prayed for his disciples. He prayed for all of his disciples. And his prayer was not that they would all have their separate places and reasons to make others unwanted.

Nope. Not at all.

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