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.
Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit the city of Boston for a few days. It was an interesting place, as there were sites of importance from the 17th century among the sites of importance from the 20th century and a few from the 21st century. The Boston Massacre took place on a street, which was a street back then as well. However, I think you would have a traffic massacre if you stepped into that street today without police assistance. It's a very busy intersection.
Another thing which struck me about that visit was the amount of wildlife. I had not been to a large city for some time, and had possibly drifted into a subconscious attitude that said you would find wild animals in small towns, but not in a major city. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Granted, I didn't see the variety of wildlife I can typically count on where I live now. There wasn't a deer in sight, nor a wild turkey. There were, however, plenty of squirrels and the smaller songbirds were abundant. They found places of refuge and safety. Lighted signs often had evidence of bird nests, since the lights make a nice warm place.
In Psalm 84 the house of God is seen as a sanctuary, like the place where a bird would go for refuge. But it is a refuge for us to seek out. It is a place of safety and of nurture. As God's people who assemble to sing His praise, we have a sanctuary which is just as secure as the nook where the bird can hide and raise its family. We are able to gather and to know that God's mercy and forgiveness are present for us.
There have been many discussions in my native country lately about whether Christianity should even be allowed to meet in congregations. These discussions are often couched in the language of public health and safety. However, they have a deeper importance. Some voices would be delighted to remove Christians from public discourse. They think Christians are a dangerous class of people and need to be shut out of society. Rather than being condemned as intolerant, they manage to portray Christianity as intolerant, since Christians have typically taken firm stands on some issues about which God speaks differently from our secular sensibilities.
God is not going to shut his people out from his temple. He is not going to separate us from his means of grace. Even if our entire world should turn against us, we who are called by His name will gather. A day in God's courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. And thankfully, I am able to spend more than one day out of a few years receiving God's gifts of forgiveness and grace.
Christians, then, turn to the Lord in faith and trust, knowing that He has given them a place of safety, a place of shelter, in his forgiveness.
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