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  • Larry Payne

A Forever Home

A popular TV show depicts a set of twin brothers who remodel houses. They work to build “forever homes” which will always meet the needs of the family involved. With data showing that 10% of Americans move each year, these “forever homes” may not be as permanent as hoped!

God has a house, too. In Psalm 11, ascribed to King David, the Tabernacle, a fancy tent many decades old, is described as the location of God’s presence on earth. This was replaced in 957 BCE by Solomon’s magnificent house of stone, bringing the conditional promise of God in, to “dwell among the children of Israel” (1 Kings 16:13). Four centuries later, armies obliterated this house of God. Other attempts to construct a sacred place would follow, a checkered history of rebuilding, desecration, and longing for an elusive Presence.

Then God did a new work. The Glory arrived in a barn (John 1:14)! This Jesus soon announced worship must be “in spirit and truth,” and denounced the great stone Temple a mere ‘den of thieves.” On Pentecost a new flaming Glory burst upon Jerusalem, creating a spiritual house among God’s people. Ephesians proclaims these humble believers were transformed as the new Temple and dwelling of God (2:21-22), a “community [of] love with faith (6:23),” where the Divine lives and moves in history. No flapping tent, sacred Ark, veils, or bloody altars would be needed. The Glory lived in scattered homes, rivers, prisons, and urban markets, spreading from heart to heart like embers exploding from a wildfire.

What would life be like if the church built up the community with structures of love and faith, mercy and peace, humility and wisdom? Misplaced theologies hoping for a rebuilt structure on a holy hill are unnecessary because God has erected a holy people throughout the world as ambassadors and provocateurs! A forever home, indeed!

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