Monday, February 10, 2014

House or Home

The Ark of the Convent being transferred from it's tent to the great Temple of Solomon was one of the greatest moments in the history of Israel. We can only image the joy of people gathered there as the Ark was moved into place and the great cloud that was the sign of the presence of God filled the space.

Solomon declares it both a lofty place and a "makon." This word in Hebrew is often translated dwelling but signifies more. In our modern age we move from house to house. The days of the old family home lived in by generation after generation of a family are a distant memory. Downton Abbey fans are watching as those days are vanishing in England.

That is a makon. The word denoted not only that God is present but that it is his home. The world also denotes permanence, like the foundation of building.

If you ask a modern American Christian, "Where is God?" We reflexively respond "Everywhere." And on one level that is true. God is omnipresent but that does not mean that every place is his home. We can stay in a hotel, visit a friend, or even live in some house for a while and it is not our home.

What makes a place home? It is difficult to define precisely but we all know it when we feel it and we know when we don't. Just ask a priest. In some parishes the people act as if the house is theirs and you are a tenant. In others, they invite you to make it your home.

In the midst of the people of Israel Solomon built a home for God, and God moved in, made himself at home. Why is this so important for us? Because in baptism we become the makon of God.

With the new and eternal covenant God does not dwell in one building. God offers every human being the opportunity to become that permanent dwelling place, God's home.

This readings invites us to examine our relationship with God. Do I invite God in for a visit from time to time, particularly when I want a favor? Or do I truly see myself as God's home? How do. I care for my body, my heart so that they remain a place where God is at home.

While it is true that God will never abandon us, we can push God out, make God unwelcome.

For any of us who have homes we know that they require constant maintenance. Take a look at your house and see if it is truly a home for God, a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit.