July 22, 2016

While crossing an open field, I noticed this dragonfly. Dragonflies are often symbolically linked with illumination and transformation. As I approached, it flew away. When I stopped to switch to a macro lens, it returned to this mooring in the wind. Every time I moved toward it, it flew away. Every time I stilled, in its brokenness it returned because its eyes locked onto this refuge from the wind. The grasp of the dragonfly reminded me of the Old Testament practice of grabbing the horns on the corners of certain altars. A person accused of a serious offense could enter designated places of worship and grasp the horns as a way of seeking sanctuary (asylum).     

By grabbing these horns smeared with sacrificial blood, the refugee came in direct physical contact with the sacred. The broken-winged dragonfly’s need for momentary peace exceeded its focus on me as a threat only when my activity wasn’t perceived as a threat. Sometimes we unintentionally create anxiety for guests who seek sanctuary for the soul in our churches. Our challenge is to extend radical hospitality in a non-threatening way, so that guests may find some peace and stay long enough to experience transformation.