Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised In the city of our God, In His holy mountain. God is in her palaces; He is known as her refuge. (from the Introit for Trinity 8)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. So much of the language of the Psalms is about God being in His palaces and cities and being a refuge. It's almost as if the Lord was right there with the Psalmist! That's because He was! In the Old Testament, the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle and temple and wherever the Ark was, you knew God was in the house!
When we go to church, that's not all just a distant memory! But we act like it is. We go to church like we go to a museum, just wandering around looking at old dead stuff. But not in Christ's church! In the church, in the holy liturgy, in the Divine Service, we have Jesus Himself. Not just remembered, not just to be thought about, but right there in our midst!
Jesus is God in the flesh. When He walked and talked with His disciples, they were in the very presence of God Himself! When Jesus comes to us in His Word in the Divine Service, He is right there Himself, too. That's why we stand and bow and kneel and sing and face forward. We do those things in church because they are little signs and indications of what we believe is actually going on in church: We're standing there with the Lord Himself. Your church, whether it's a great big one made of stones in a bustling metropolis or a little shack in the woods in the middle of nowhere—God Himself is there.
He's there putting His name on you as He did in your baptism. He's there with His messenger, announcing your forgiveness and preaching and teaching what the Lord has done for you. He's there in the public proclamation of the Lord's Scriptures. He's there in the flesh and blood at His holy altar of salvation. No memories and cobwebs here! This is the true and real city of God where the Lord Himself dwells. And He invites you in to receive all of His rich gifts and blessings week after week.
Rejoice! For tomorrow you shall be in the Lord's house again. The city of God. The place of refuge. Where the Lord Himself will meet you and load you up with good things. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Open now thy gates of beauty, Zion, let me enter there, Where my soul in joyful duty Waits for Him who answers prayer. Oh, how blessed is this place, Filled with solace, light, and grace! (LSB 901:1)
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.