There’s no use denying it: I’m a “church guy.” All my life, I’ve enjoyed being in “the house of the Lord.” Even when I’m in an empty church at night – which many folks I know find to be an unsettling experience – I experience peace and holy stillness. And so, it’s a great gift to me that almost every day I get to walk in the doors of a church before the rest of my colleagues arrive and begin my morning with prayer and scripture – and with what I hope are efforts to serve God’s purposes.
The theme of “loving God’s house” is one that shows up frequently in scripture. In today’s Daily Office, the psalmist writes:
“LORD, I love the house where you live,
the place where your glory dwells.” (Psalm 26:8)
Of course, I wish that all of us had such a strong desire to rest in God’s presence and to celebrate God’s glory that we were drawn regularly to “the house of the Lord” for worship and study and fellowship. But I also realize – that as important as these holy places are – they’re not the point. Ultimately, God does not dwell “in houses made by human hands.” And especially in the wake of what Jesus has done to set God’s Spirit free in our lives, the “place where God’s glory dwells” is us. The apostle Peter puts it like this:
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5)
I do love the house where God lives – the place where glory dwells. But that house is the people with whom I’ve privileged to share my life – the brothers and sisters in faith with whom I’m being “built together” to become God’s tabernacle in the world.
May we see that glory in ourselves, in each other, and in our shared life today. And may the lives that we live provide to others such clear evidence of God’s presence that they, too, come to love the place where glory dwells.