Home sweet home! (27-08-21)
A Bible Reading: Psalm 84. 1 – 4 How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home,and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. A Thought We recently visited some friends, who had discovered a pigeon’s nest in the shrubbery next to their patio door. It was a well-hidden nest, given extra protection by the regular comings and goings of humans onto the patio. Its position at about head height enabled us to view the parent and baby pigeon up close and personal.
Have you ever wondered why we never see baby pigeons? I discovered that the baby, known as a ‘squab’, remains in the nest until it is fully grown. This is for its own safety, so it cannot be picked off by any predators. It will leave after four or more weeks, when it is as big as its parents and it has acquired all its flight feathers.
Pigeons are loyal to their nests and return to use the same one time and time again. This is the reason that they have been so useful for carrying messages. There is evidence of homing pigeons as far back as 2500 BC. They have this amazing capacity to find their way back home.
In a village, there is a similar loyalty towards the local church and a sense of ownership that goes beyond the regular worshipping community. It was noticeable how many people were saddened when the churches were closed to the public at the beginning of lockdown, and surprising how many people valued going back into church again when they reopened for private prayer. Perhaps a similar homing instinct was at work here too?
It is true that we can meet with God anywhere at any time, but we also know that going into a church building can help us to consciously step aside from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and to focus on the living God who encourages and watches over us. Over the years, I have met numerous people, who experienced a sense of ‘coming home’ as they came into church, perhaps satisfying a deep yearning that they were not really aware of until that moment. When we yearn to be in God’s house and in God’s presence, we can discover a sense of belonging and safety which enables us to flourish and feel secure.
A Prayer Lord Almighty, my King and my God, may my soul find its home in your presence to help us grow in safety. Amen.
How lovely is your dwelling place, a setting of Psalm 84 to a traditional Scottish melody