4 One thing I asked of the Lord,that will I seek after: to live in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,to behold the beauty of the Lord,and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will set me high on a rock. Psalm 27:4-5
In one of Pastor Sarah’s recent sermons, she spoke about having visited many churches, particularly as she was in seminary to become a pastor. That resonated with me. I, too, have been in many different church buildings.
I attended a small Lutheran liberal arts school for college. As I always sang in choir, that meant that every spring break was spent on choir tour. Spring break was a loose term. We were on trimesters, so our spring break usually fell at the end of February. We would load up two buses and go from Lutheran church to Lutheran church singing the same concert program for 10 days.
It was interesting to see the connections in the churches. You’d find LBWs and banners with hand-appliqued words like “peace” and “hope” hanging on the walls. There would be a fellowship space where they’d feed us dinner before the concert (one year I was served the same Stouffer’s veggie lasagna eight times). We’d always change into our concert wear in the Sunday School rooms.
Despite the commonalities, each space was its own. I could tell how strong the music program was just looking at the choir room. The architecture varied from gothic to colonial to 50s block construction. In some places there would be a prominent pulpit and in other places there would just be a lectern. Some would feel bright and airy and others were dark and gloomy.
As I read the psalm portion appointed for today, I was struck by how many different words for God’s house there were: house of the Lord, his temple, his shelter, his tent, high on a rock. And they are such varied places, too. In my mind, a tent is very different from a temple. In this time of the pandemic, our idea of what church physically is has been challenged. We typically think of our church as a red brick building with a white and blue interior space. Now we have to think of our church as anywhere our fellow congregants are. And right now that means church looks like home.
We are a church in many different spaces — kitchens, living rooms, spare bedrooms — yet we will continue to seek after God, and we know that God will hide us in his shelter and set us high on a rock, protected. We will continue to ask for God’s protection and to live with confidence that God will be there to shelter and provide safe-keeping.