A House for God
This past week, I have been away on study leave, continuing to work on my certification for Spiritual Direction. During this time away, we have worship twice a day and for our evening worship service on the first day, we meditated on a passage from the prophet Isaiah. Through the mouth of the prophet, God said to the people:
With Heaven my throne
And earth my footstool, What house could you build for me, says the Lord, What place for me to rest, When all these things were made by me? As I meditated on this passage, I kept thinking about the houses of worship that I have had an opportunity to visit. Some of the places that I have visited have been very elegant in their simplicity, while other worship spaces have been grandiose and filled with such ornate beauty as to be almost distracting. Yet, as I thought about God’s words through Isaiah, a question came to mind. As magnificent as these places of worship are, is there really anywhere that is worthy enough for the presence of God? God is the creator of all things and God’s glory outshines and eclipses all of creation. There are references in the Scriptures where all of creation bows before the majesty of God. So, how can anything in all creation be worthy enough to be a house for God? Certainly there is nothing that humankind can make that would be worthy enough for the presence of God. Of course, God can choose to make a dwelling place that is worthy enough. And, it turns out that God has chosen to make a dwelling place worthy enough for his presence. That place is the human heart. In the Book of Revelation, there is a very familiar passage, one that has been depicted in a picture of Jesus standing at a door. It the passage from Revelation Jesus is speaking to the church and says:
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, And they with me.
I invite you to close your eyes and just sit with those words for a few minutes. Think about the wonder of Jesus’ words. The God who cannot find a worthy dwelling place made by human hands, has decided that our hearts, made by God’s hands, are a worthy place for God to be present. Through the Holy Spirit, God takes up residence in our hearts. It boggles the mind. The first thought that came to my mind was the words of Psalm 51:
Create in me a clean heart, O God
And renew a right Spirit within me.
Then my second thought was to pray, “Jesus, transform my heart that it may always be worthy of your Spirit.”