How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Psalm 84:1-2, NRSV
The season of COVID-tide has now extended over so many of our church seasons. Lent. Easter. Pentecost. And now, Advent.
As far as seasons go, Advent and COVID-tide have quite a lot in common. In Advent, as in COVID-tide, we find ourselves seeking a hope-filled light in the midst of a whole lot of darkness. In Advent, as in COVID-tide, we find ourselves watching and waiting. In Advent, as in COVID-tide, we find ourselves longing.
This psalm speaks of longing — a specific kind of longing, a longing for the very dwelling place of the Lord. Some interpret this as a reference to God’s dwelling place in heaven. Others, a reference to the holy Temple in Jerusalem. Both interpretations have merit.
Yet this year, as I read these words some nine months into COVID-tide, I can’t help but hear in them the deep echoes of longing for a more local, more familiar sacred space — our very own church. Of course, we know that God doesn’t “dwell” in the church building any more than in any other space. We know that Christ teaches us that wherever two or three of us are gathered in his name, he is there among us. We know that the very Spirit dwells within us. And yet, despite all that knowledge, all that sound Christian theology, we may find ourselves earnestly nodding along with the psalmist’s words. We miss it. We long for it. We long to be in the space where we experience God in a special way, too.
That longing is heightened during this time of year, when our memories of sacred space are all the more special and meaningful. So if you find yourselves experiencing that kind of longing this year, I offer you three things:
- I offer you this pause to acknowledge that and grieve that. It’s important to do that in this season of losses upon losses.
- I offer you this opportunity to experience our sacred space virtually — click this link for a video tour of our beautifully-decorated church. While it’s not the same… I hope it satisfies even a small part of that longing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_C9JyfzHQjQ&feature=youtu.be
- I offer you this promise: someday, we’ll talk about COVID-tide in the past tense. Someday, we’ll say: remember when…? Someday, we’ll gather together in sacred space again.
Until that day, may God’s grace meet your deepest longing… because in the end, grace alone can satisfy it.
More than that… in this season when it may feel like everything in the rest of your life is colliding with your home life, I hope it reminds you that church and home don’t collide. Church and home have always belonged together. As the hymn tells us, church and home combine.
And remember, friends:
Our God is bigger than coronavirus.
Our vision is bigger than coronavirus, too.
We are people blessing people.
We are Wesley Church.
Want to know more?
- Learn about our church and its ministries: https://wesleychurch.com/
- Make a gift to support our mission: https://wesleychurch.com/giving-2/
- View our recent messages: https://wesleychurch.com/sermon-message-on-video/
- View previous devotionals: https://wesleychurch.com/pastor-candys-devotionals-2/