BY REV. DAVID MERRITT |
Almost every week, I receive an email, text or phone call about the possibility of selling our home. With the higher than average market, it is a tempting thought especially since we have retired. But the truth of the matter is that this is our home and enough to meet our needs. It was purchased with the thought of retirement and is strategically located near most of our most visited destinations. Yes, the thrill of a payday is enticing but moving… not so much!
Moving for God’s people has always been a mixed blessing of sorts. In the Old Testament, the transition from the nomadic life of the Hebrews to worship at the Temple was a time of celebration and later a time of temptation and testing. The Early Church moved from the synagogue to home to home and town to town. Even in America, the history of the Brush Arbor still remains a pioneer theme that inspires us. God’s people have moved from place to place but it hasn’t always produced lasting results.
Maybe church is about more than location. Maybe it is a matter of listening to God’s voice, worship, the prayers of God’s People, and the music that inspires us. Sure, sacred spaces still inspire us, but church is more than a location. God is in the work of reclamation and reconciliation. When people need hope and healing, any location, any meeting place can become sacred and sacramental. Yes, God is an omnipresent God, as we say in Confirmation Class.
My home church at Mizpah in Rural Hall, North Carolina just celebrated its Anniversary this past Sunday. I can still remember its open doors, the long windows, white sided walls, and rock foundation as you approached from the driveway.
I find solace in the traditional space of worship. I am a creature of habit I guess. I love the smell of books, the creek of the floors, and the patterns of sunlight filtering across the pews on an early Sunday Morning. I know the building is just a place, yet it is a place where lives have been touched with God’s amazing grace and lives have been transformed.
Our church is facing some amazingly tough decisions in the years to come. Some church buildings may be sold or even rented out for others to use. Our boards and members will have to seriously look at all the issues involved. But know this, my friend traveler; God is always present with the people of his choosing. The Spirit that moved upon the face of the deep still moves within the people who call on God in Spirit and Truth! Our location does not determine our destiny or our desire; God alone provides for us a place of God’s choosing.
Be at peace my friends. God is a God that moves with us as we move through life.
John 4:21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
About the author
The Rev. David Merritt is a retired Pastor, former Dean, Outreach Director, and Chaplain, but he’s “papa” according to his grandkids. David loves God, Laurel Ridge, and his family. He has enough sense to get out of the rain but prefers raindrops anyway.