Scripture Reading: Psalm 84:1-12
I learned how to drive on the interstate that we took to get to church every Sunday. My parents forced me to drive on that busy road because they knew I would have to drive it many, many times over the next few years while I lived in Birmingham. My family was in that building every time the doors were open. Sunday school, Sunday morning worship, Sunday evening worship, Wednesday evening Bible class—you name it, we were there sitting on the front row.
While I was growing up, church always felt a little bit like something I had to check off a to-do list. I never spent the night at friends’ houses on Saturday night because I had to go to church in the morning. I would always rush home from sports practices on Wednesdays so I could make it to youth group on time. I loved church, yes, but it never felt like the kind of church the psalmist is describing in Psalm 84.
When I was in college, I spent a semester in Santiago, Chile, and for three months, I didn’t go to church, not really. I didn’t speak much Spanish at the time, and so when I did attend church there, I spent more time and energy trying to translate the sermon in my head than just worshiping. While I was in Chile, church began to take on a completely different meaning than it did when I was a child.
Over the course of a few months, the idea of “church” shifted to “Church.” The distinction of the capital “C” allowed me to view the Church as a larger being, as something other than just the place I went to worship. The Church is so much more than the small box in which I’d stowed my idea of our local church. It is family, community, a safe place to worship and experience the presence of our God.
Even a sparrow finds a home,
and a swallow, a nest for herself
where she places her young—
near your altars, LORD of Armies,
my King and my God.
How happy are those who reside in your house,
who praise you continually. Selah.
Let us use Psalm 84 as a means of pleading with God for what we want His Kingdom to look like here, now. May we be a people and a Church that reside in the house of our Lord, a people who praise Him continually. May we allow the Church to be a safe place for outsiders, a home for those who are lost, and a family for the broken. And may we pray for the Church be a place that bridges the gap between heaven and earth, where we meet with our God and enjoy His presence together, as a community.
Ellen Taylor was born and raised in sweet home Alabama, but has called Nashville home since 2013. When she’s not working as the editorial assistant at She Reads Truth, you can find her enjoying good food and good conversation with her friends and family. She is a lover of good books, ugly dogs, and the Oxford comma.