Our world is constantly moving, changing, evolving, and in a state of becoming something else. Our lives too are often found to be in constantly flux. Babies are born, young people get married, families grow, and people pass away and families shrink. In the world, people fight one another, wars begin and wars end, world leaders change and policies are made and enforced. Technology is constantly in flux and ever changing. There are times when it seems as if everything has changed.
Bill and I were discussing just how different our child’s life will be compared to ours. She will never have need for a pay phone. When we were children we never left the house without a quarter to call home. Maddie will never know what a rotarary phone is or use a land line unless it is at grandma and grandpa’s. She will never know life without computers, gaming systems, or flat screened televisions. Our televisions didn’t always have cable and they were really pieces of furniture. She may never use a set of encyclopedias, or a traditional dictionary, or a road map. Life has certainly changed and seemingly quickly.
The changes in technology alone are hard enough to keep up with and even more frighteningly to ensure the safety online of future generations from the time that they are born. Yet there is one thing I can feel comfort in for her life and for the lives of all peoples. God will always be the same no matter the changes we experience in our worlds. No matter how church may change, God remains the same for yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God is our one constant in life. He is that source of stability when nothing else seems to be stable.
Robert Browning, a 19th century English poet, wrote, “Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure”. Our scriptures speak to this constancy of God. David settled and unified the previously divided kingdom of Israel and had established the capital in Jerusalem for the first time. It was at this point that David thought to settle the home of God by building a temple. He wanted to give God a permanent dwelling place.
God’s response was that he did not need a dwelling place, that he was nomadic in nature. God was not like all the gods and goddesses of the cultures and peoples all around them who had temples where people could interface with the god or goddess. And the same holds true today, God does not just reside in the churches of the world. God resides within each one of us. God travels the world with us. God is with each of us offering us strength and comfort for tomorrow, offering a constant reminder that no matter what happens in this life and in this world, no matter the changes we might experience nothing can change his presence in our lives and his love and care for us.
The constancy of God’s presence is what unites us with all peoples everywhere. No matter the barriers, and the differences between individuals, cultures, and people of the world, our God’s presence and Christ’s mission to bring peace to a world in need is what unites us all. Everything else might change but that remains constant. God is the same and always present. In ancient Israel, pre-temple, the Israelites believed that God was nomadic and where ever the people were there too was God. I think sometimes we lose sight of this earliest understanding of God.
Church is more than just a building, or a gathering of people, church is where ever we experience God and the presence of the holy. I have known people to get powerful experiences of God out hiking in the woods, fishing in the river, taking the dog for a walk, or just gardening in the back yard. These experiences of the holy give us that promised peace that we hear of in Ephesians. These experiences of God are our reminder that we do not travel this life alone. In those moments, God is reaching out and speaking to us ever so quietly. When I ran VBS, I had a child ask me what God sounded like and how do they know if God is speaking to them. God speaks to us through experiences, other people, and those little moments of rest when we know we have been blessed.
So this coming week, find a moment to seek out the presence of God. Find a moment of quiet and feel the rest being offered to you and know that in those moments God is speaking to you. Listen to what he says and find your inspiration knowing that no matter what may change in this life God will always be constant. God will always travel with us and never change. Remember the words of Ephesians and find comfort in their words for we are no longer strangers but we are members of the family of God, “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit”. The temple, the church, is just as much a part of each of you in your hearts and souls and in your everyday lives as it is in buildings like these. Take advantage of the comfort that is inherent in that knowledge. Live into the peace being offered to you each and the inspiration being whispered into your ear in those moments of quiet, restful, holy moments of life.
 Robert Browning, 19th century English poet.
 Ephesians 2: 19-22, RSV.
(Based on 2 Samuel 7: 1-14 and Ephesians 2: 11-22)