Scripture for this Sunday: 2 Samuel 7.1-14a; Psalm 89.20-37; Ephesians 2.11-22; Mark 6.30-34,53-56
Missionaries who pursued the nomadic African Maasai people were confused about their apparent detachment from the buildings constructed as churches for them, because the Maasai tended to get up and go – they were nomads!
Eventually, in answer to a question, they were themselves asked: “If God is always with you, why is a church building so important?” It’s a good question. To answer it, we need to think about where we encounter God, and what the building means.
As David learned, God will not be constrained by a building, and can be encountered just about anywhere. On the other hand, since we are not, generally, nomadic, a building, or a location, can become a valuable focus for Christian life, for worship, for ministry, for learning, for rest and renewal.
We are social beings, and our spiritual life is meant to have strong communal aspects. What the church building can be effectively is a pointer, a signpost, towards encountering God in the world around, and in the community in which we live.
The Maasai understood that God can be carried with us in our hearts. Ultimately, we must ask where God wants to be housed. A church building is important insofar as it helps us to build a home for God in our hearts, in our heads and in our actions.