What is the first thought or image that comes to your mind when you hear the word church? Like almost everybody else you imagine a building. Some visualize them small and in the country; others think big, like cathedrals; some picture an old one; and some envision a new and modern building. Of course, many of us think of our own home church building.
This is how most of the people think about church. Today we have a wrong idea about church. Church for us is a building that holds religious meetings. It is very important for us to understand that that is not God’s idea about church. For God, the church is the encounter between Him and His people.
This picture is from a church in Kenya. The Presbyterian Church in Kenya is larger than the PCUSA. They meet in different kinds of buildings. They are suffering persecution, and sometimes they do not have a building for their meetings. We can have a dedicated and special place for that encounter, but that place is not the church; it is only the building where the church meets.
We learned that the psalms of ascents were sung when people made their journey to Jerusalem to worship. The psalmist in Psalm 132 is trying to help the people who came, or are coming to worship, to understand the principle of the true church, the church that goes beyond buildings.
Being in the physical Temple was important for the festivities, but the church was more than that. Church is the relationship between God and His people. Church involves the participation of People and God. Let us see what the psalmist has to tell us about that.
When the psalmist wrote this psalm, he probably wanted to discard the doubts that many people had in their mind, ARE WE REALLY THE TRUE CHURCH?
This is not hard to understand. When they had to walk all that distance and make all those sacrifices; sometimes doubts would come to their minds, if they were doing the right thing for the right cause, or not.
God through the psalmist helped them to understand that they could find out if they were doing the right thing. They could know if they were members of the true church or not.
In the same way this psalm will help us to find out about the true church. In a time when there are so many churches and all of them claim to be the one, it is important for us to be sure that the fellowship where we congregate is the one that God has in mind for us.
In the next few weeks we will meditate upon this beautiful psalm and learn the vital lessons about the true church.
Have a blessed week,