Our Worship – Lesson 16 – Sanctuary

Why is our Sanctuary shaped this way?

Many Christian sanctuaries are shaped similar to the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.  They include a larger area similar to the Holy Place of the Temple, and they have a smaller altar area similar to the Holy of Holies.  Some churches of this design also added side extensions near the altar area, making the building in the shape of the cross.  Many sanctuary ceilings were designed to resemble the bottom of a boat, since the church is often compared to the ark of Noah.

What does the Sanctuary mean to our worship?

The Sanctuary is intended to be the place where our present God interacts with His people in worship.  God is not far off in heaven, but present in His Word and Sacraments.  The word “sanctuary” means “holy place.”  The sanctuary is a holy place because of God promise to dwell among His people.  God’s presence makes the place, and, more importantly, the people holy.

What does the Bible say about Sanctuaries?

God commanded Moses to build the Tabernacle in the wilderness.  He later commanded Solomon to build the Temple in Jerusalem.  He also promises to be among us as we gather together.  Christians build sanctuaries to celebrate His presence and grace by worship of Word and Sacraments.


Sing any of the following hymns from Lutheran Service Book: 901, 902, 904, 905, 907, 913.

Object Lesson

Show a picture of the Temple and then remind them of the Sanctuary.  Tell them that we still worship our present God in a place set aside for that reason.


Gracious God, I come before Thee; come Thou also unto me, where we find Thee and adore Thee, there a heav’n on earth must be.  To my heart, O enter Thou; let it be Thy temple now.  Amen.