The House of God
by Gordon Bailey
As I strolled around the cathedral, Lord, I frequently paused to appreciate the skill,|
the craftsmanship, the ingenuity, and the labour which had all been part of the making of such a beautiful place. I also noticed, again, how such splendour affects people:
signs of reverence were made; children were shushed; steps were lightened, almost to a tiptoe; voices were turned down to whispers; ornate masonry was gently caressed; ancient woodcarvings were examined with admiration; and the sun-brightened stained glass was gazed upon with wonder.
I overheard a quiet explanation offered to a curious child: 'This is God's house! This is where God lives.' Is that right, Lord? Have you gone back to living in buildings?
I thought you'd scrapped the idea of temples and tabernacles. I have the impression that you were in such a hurry to leave the last temple you lived in that you tore the curtain from top to bottom as you left. I've been told that your life, death, and resurrection make it possible for you, the One who is God, to take up residence inside people; inside those who welcome you into their lives; making us good from the inside.
Have I got it wrong?
Do some folk have you living at the wrong address?
I'm not implying that we shouldn't cherish or admire the skills of those who create places of worship. Rather I am suggesting that your house in which you now choose to dwell should be considered with awe and wonder.
You see, if it's true that you dwell within me, making my body your house, then you have sanctified my body by your very presence within it. Surely, therefore, I must treat my body, your house, with respect, and awe, and wonder; placing within it only that which enhances its health; doing nothing to it or with it that threatens its wellbeing; rather, giving my body a greater value than I would a chapel or church made by human hands?
As I go on believing that you dwell within me, I am caused to ask myself if, for some, this concept is a wee bit too intimate, that some might feel more comfortable if you did confine yourself to living in cathedrals. Then, your presence, being sufficiently removed from intimacy, wouldn't be such a challenge to our daily lives.
Didn't you say once, that you are knocking at the doors of people's lives? Attracting the attention of the person on the inside to the fact that you are, as yet, on the outside? Could it be, Lord, when you knock, some of us pretend that we are not at home?