Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
When I first joined with the Lutheran Church, I noticed that Lutherans had a way of referring to the church building as God's house. This raised questions in my mind. Were they saying that the church building is a special place and that God is not present in other places, such as my house?
Isaiah 66:1-2 describes heaven and earth as God's home. He doesn't need people to build him a house. There's nothing we could do which would provide him with anything he needs. And in many ways, God's presence is, to use a theological term, "illocal." By being everywhere (omnipresent) He doesn't seem to show up in a particular place.
Except that he does. Heaven is his throne. The earth is his footrest. And he is particularly present where the Word of God is preached in truth and the Sacraments are administered rightly. That's different from God just being everywhere. He has promised to be present in the preaching of the Scripture. He gives gifts, such as faith, through the hearing of the Word of God. This indicates a special presence, to bless his people. He gives gifts in the Sacraments, as he uses the waters of baptism to wash us from sin, and as he uses simple elements of bread and wine along with his Word to feed our faith for eternal life.
God is specially present where he has promised to come, meet with his people, and bless them.
Even though we could never build a house that would be adequate to show forth God's glory and majesty, we can take courage. Where the Church is assembled together, God is specially present with his blesing. This means that the great cathedral constructed for God's glory becomes a dwelling place for him when Word and Sacrament ministry is conducted. The little chapel constructed for God's glory is just as much a dwelling place when we gather for Word and Sacrament. Whether opulent or humble, God comes to meet with his people.
So the church building is God's house in that it is set apart for his service. It is God's house in that his people assemble together around Word and Sacrament. It is dedicated to him and he comes to us, according to his promise.
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