I find the image of living “in the house of the LORD” quite evocative. I think of my living space and how it’s the place where I do so many different things. At home I sometimes feel comfortable and at peace, as when I cover myself with a blanket on the couch to read a good book. Yet at times I hide in my room alone when I’m angry or devastated. I cook dinner and clean up the dishes; I start projects and sometimes finish them. In the evening my home can be a sanctuary as I finish my day. In the morning it is where I get myself ready for the day ahead.
In a world where so many people are homeless, I am aware that my home is a great gift. It is a safe place to sleep and has bathrooms, heat, and air conditioning. There’s always water to drink and a place to cook and store food. I get to live with my spouse and child, and we can welcome others into our home when we choose to do so. In all this, though, the primary value of my house isn’t the house itself but what the house makes possible—how it provides space for life and helps me prepare to venture out.
Similarly, if dwelling “in the house of the LORD” is a goal of our faith, we ought to remember that it’s not the metaphorical house we strive for but the life it enables. Living in God’s house provides me “shelter in the day of trouble.” God’s house is “the stronghold of my life,” where I need not be afraid. But then, God’s house also provides me a jumping-off point when my faith becomes less static and more of an active, engaging life of living out God’s love for all to see.
May I live in your house, O Lord, all my days. Amen.
This week’s readings give witness to God’s ways and provide confidence and hope in our faith. In Genesis we read of God’s promise to Abram, a promise that seems very unlikely to a man with no children. But God seals the covenant, and the story later shows that God never breaks God’s promises. The psalmist, even while mired in conflict, praises God for being his light, his salvation, his stronghold. The psalmist longs to be in God’s presence forever, a desire that can inspire all of us as believers. Paul says that in the future reality, we will no longer experience resistance from those who oppose God. One day Christ will fully transform us to our citizenship in heaven. Jesus himself experienced resistance even in Jerusalem, yet he ultimately triumphed, as will all those who trust in God.
Read Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18. How can you take a step forward in the dark toward God’s seemingly impossible promises for the future?
Read Psalm 27. Recall a time when you waited in the shadows of your life. What did you learn about God’s provision during this time?
Read Philippians 3:17–4:1. How do you live in the paradox of standing firm in faith by being vulnerable?
Read Luke 13:31-35. When have you been unwilling to accept love? How can you comprehend the depth and yearning of God’s love for you?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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