The ongoing story of David found in the Second Book of Samuel continues today with David, firmly established on his throne and dwelling in a palace, expressing his desire to "build a house" for the Lord - a fitting house of cedar and stone - one that would make God (and everyone else in the Kingdom) truly proud. The Lord tells Nathan to remind David that he has not needed nor does he now need a "house" in which to reside. He has walked with his people, he has dwelt in tent under cloth, he has been in their midst and in their hearts. If there is a house to be built, it will be the Lord doing the building - not in stone and wood and fine workmanship - but by loyally standing by David and his lineage and establishing a house that will be found on the royal throne which will stand firm forever. He tells David that his son shall build a house for God's name and that the Lord shall be a father to him. Beautiful words in this story.
There was a time when it was the hope of a pastor to be placed in a position of building a church. I came close, once, in Scottdale, but was kept out of the loop. I lent my touch to a few minor renovations over the years in other places. But I never established myself as a "church builder", except in the capacity of building upon the community spirit and calling forth the People of God to be Church. This is all that I wanted, for I am definitely not a brick and mortar builder. It is the Lord who builds the house. In fact, the Church directs that the physical building for worship which we call church is the House of God, but not the House for God. Rather she describes the church building as being "a house for the Church." Wherever we gather in his Name, we are Church, and the building in which we worship should have dignity and beauty in order to lift our hearts and minds toward the Lord - thus it is important. But the Lord is not and will not be confined to a place, a building, a monument that may even inspire, but rather is found in the hearts and lives of the people who gather in that sacred space. That is what we mean by church. From the simplest table around which we gather for worship to the most magnificent basilica, it is simply a "house for the Church."