Where Do You Live?

Ok, in hindsight, that title does sound a little on the creepy side. No answer required, and hopefully some of the creepiness will be assuaged by what follows.

I have always found it interesting when authors describe where their characters live. From the “hole in the ground” of Tolkein’s Bilbo Baggins; the dark, cold, unwelcoming abode of Dickens’s Ebenezer Scrooge, or even the cozy Waystone Inn of Rothfuss’s Kote, some of my favorite authors have given me a good idea of what these homes look like. At times, I have looked up from a book to be disappointed that I was right where I left myself rather than in the abode I had just had described in great detail to me.

So where does God live? Does He describe His home to us? In a way, He does. Genesis 1 describes the building of a magnificent Temple we know as Creation, with God laying the foundations of his own home on days 1-3 and then adding beautiful detail work on days 4-6. At the end, he places humans into Creation to be His agents, to radiate His character and authority into the world and reflect Creation’s praise back to Him. We were to be a royal priesthood, acting on God’s behalf and delivering praise and intercession back to God.

Then, after forging a covenant with a humble man longing to start a family, and delivering that family from slavery, God commissioned another “abode.” This was to be a magnificent tent, built to reflect in miniature the beauty and wonder of Creation. God’s presence would dwell there among His people and move with them as they traveled. He led his people through the wilderness, giving them the law of the covenant, and reaffirming his faithfulness.

Later, a well-meaning king, a man after God’s own heart sought to build a more permanent structure for God’s presence to inhabit. God denied his request, but only for a generation, and that king’s son built a structure that again reflected in miniature the beauty of God’s creation. Now that God’s people dwelt in the Promised Land, God would dwell with His people while calling all the nations to Himself.

See, these were to be places where heaven and earth met. God’s realm and this realm overlapped at these points, and direct contact could be made. (Though these weren’t the only places, as seen in Jacob’s visions in Genesis.) Heaven, in the Jewish mindset, isn’t some skyward place somewhere beyond the bounds of the clouds, but a place that wraps invisibly around our own experience and overlaps in wondrous and common ways. What God did next was unexpected in the time it was accomplished, but now we read the ancient story as leading up to this moment.

Heaven and earth met in the form of a baby boy, who grew into a man. This man walked and dwelt among His people bringing news of a new Exodus, a freedom from the great oppressors of sin and death. He came giving of himself, healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, and making the lame to walk. This living, breathing tabernacle lived, slept, and taught right beside the poor, the weak, the uneducated, and those anxious for freedom. Drawing to himself the violence great powers of darkness, this man went through death and emerged on the other side, claiming a new kind of life and Kingship.

And with His blood, he made clean and set apart a people for Himself who became themselves the place where heaven and earth meet. Now those who follow Jesus, who experience the guiding of God’s Spirit are a meeting place of heaven and earth. Jesus is continually building himself a house, a people, brick by brick, person by person, through the actions of His people.

So, I’ll ask it again: where do you live?


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