This morning, I received a lovely card from someone in my congregation. On the front, it had a picture of a beautifully lit church standing beside a gently flowing stream. Inside was a cheque donated to Erin church, along with one simple question: “When?”
I have asked myself that question hundreds of times lately, so I know what this church member was lovingly expressing. We all miss coming to the church sanctuary to be in God’s presence with His people. We all miss saying prayers and singing together. Sunday mornings are just not the same without being at church.
Now, I know some people say that the church is not a building, and they are perfectly right; however, church buildings become sanctuaries and safe places to us where we can humbly enter and feel God’s peaceful presence that we sometimes cannot get in our homes, schools, or workplaces. We attach ourselves to a sacred building in much the same way as our biblical ancestors felt connected to their temple: it is a place of safety and acceptance, peacefulness and love.
“My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” (Psalm 84:2 NIV)
I wish I could answer that simple question of “When?” with the word “Now,” but in our present circumstances, it has to be “Not yet.” I would love to open the doors today and have the good folks of the church streaming past me to get to the sanctuary that we all dearly love, but as a shepherd, I’m called to look after the sheep under my care, even when some of the flock want something else.
There will come a time when we shall gather to declare our love for God and one another. There will come a moment when we will praise God together and even sing those ancient psalmist’s great words of faith: “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” (Psalm 63:3 NIV)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we all long to be in God’s house to praise Your name as one family of faith. During these troubled times, grant us the patience to persevere and the wisdom to follow Your will. In Your holy name, we pray, and for Your holy people, we ask. Amen.
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission