Wednesday 10 May 2017

Bible Book:

“Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands.” (v. 48)

Acts 7:44-50 Wednesday 10 May 2017

Psalm: Psalm1


Hardly a week passes but a chapel closes. If youhave spent most, if not all, of your life worshipping there, thereis bound to be a sense of grief and bereavement. I have movedaround a lot in my life. There is no single place of worship thatI'm attached to. But I am held by memories and one in particular. Ican see my Dad's hand as he holds the pitch-pine pew in front ofhim to steady himself, his multiple sclerosis nudging his sense ofbalance. I see fingers gripping the wood. And if that had been inone place at one time, where generations of hands had held then itbecomes easy for me to recognise the attachment of place throughthe association with people. No wonder, as Estelle White put it,God needs us to be a "wandering, vagabond race" (from 'Moses I knowyou're the man', Singing the Faith 473). Without thatrestlessness, Christianity would have died when women with spicesmet by an empty tomb outside Jerusalem (Luke24:1-12). It might not even have reached Emmaus, seven mileshence. Christianity was born on the move (Luke24:13-35).

But the essence of the divine, the God ofmountains, the Spirit that moved over the face of the waters, theWord that breathed life into all that is, is something that canneither be held nor constrained. The Spirit blows where it will andthat is the essence of God, not dwelling in houses made by humanhands.

I remember early in my ministry having aconversation with a member of a church about the possibility of itbecoming a drop-in centre for people who were unemployed. Oneperson said, "But they wouldn't use our new chairs would they?"They didn't, at least not for long. They moved on to the Labourclub, more welcome there. And I sense God moved with them. There isno congregation worshipping in that church now. Even they havegone, God not seen in their midst. Perhaps our song should havebeen, 'Let us build a house where love can dwell'(Singing the Faith 409), sung with our lives as well asour voices. That's what we need to build with, love.

To Ponder

  • What would a house built with love be like?
  • How can we make sure that we are attentive to God's spirit andnot simply tied to a building?
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