Dwelling Places

Easter Season: 5th Week

Gospel Reading: John 14:1-14 (World English Bible)

14 “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many homes. If it weren’t so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also. You know where I go, and you know the way.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on, you know him, and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you such a long time, and do you not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works’ sake. 12 Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to my Father. 13 Whatever you will ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it. 

Reflection: Dwelling Places by David Morrison

Presence of God: “Come, Creator, Holy Spirit—and in our hearts take your rest. Come with your divine help—and fill the very hearts you created.” -An Ancient Prayer

The greatest aspect of Israel’s identity as the people of God was the fact that God himself dwelt in the tabernacle/temple. Zion was the very dwelling place of God. Yahweh’s presence was tangible and eminent which made the temple the apex of the universe. Because of this truth, the apostle John, when he experienced the revelation of God’s redemptive history, looked first and foremost for the temple dwelling place of the Trinity in the New Jerusalem. Being a Jew, it was astounding to John that no temple was found: “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Rev. 21:22). This is an equally mysterious paradox for “New Testament” believers who tend to emphasize that we are (collectively and individually) the temple of God…“in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:21). What are we to make of this seeming contradiction? How can God and his people be the temple? The reality is found on the night when Jesus invited us to the table of the new covenant as he said, “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.” The act of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection causes us to be so intimately united to God that we dwell in him, and he dwells in us. We dwell in the Father’s house and yet we are “dwelling places” (rooms) in His house.
As Jesus looked into the faces of the disciples at the First Supper, and said, “In my Father’s house, there are many mansions;” his sacred heart was filled with burning, prophetic fulfillment concerning his Father’s house: “Zeal for your house consumes me” (Ps. 69:9). This zeal was the long awaited execution of the longing in the Father’s heart: “Heaven is my throne, the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you could build for me? And where is the place of my rest?” (Is. 66:1). Through the ages—from Creation, to the Christmation, and onto the Consummation, the aching in the Triune heart of God is that He would dwell in man, and man in Him. St. Augustine wrote, “No man can rest until he rests in God,” but God Himself won’t rest until He rests in humanity. When this restlessness in the heart of God encounters the restlessness in one’s own heart, it is forever formed into one of the many dwelling places of God in the Father’s house. We truly then are free to become “the meek who inherit the earth” (Mat. 5:5)–those who live a lifestyle of resting in God’s presence in the midst of a world of chaos. This peace and rest is noticed by all who live in turmoil and despair, and we are empowered to invite them into a new hope in Christ. The Lord becomes the light of the sun through us; His kingdom becomes the moon that governs the night; and we “shine like stars in the world” (Phil. 2:15).

Prayer: Make Us Your Resting Place by David Morrison

Jesus, you said, “Foxes have holes, birds their nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Come lay your head in our hearts and let us be your resting place. And we will forever live in You, and You in us, that where You are—we may also be. How lovely are your dwelling places, Oh Lord of Hosts!

The New Earth by David Morrison

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About David Morrison

I've lived here at the community with Marsha, my wife, since its founding in 2003. I serve in various ways from pastoral care to landscape maintenance; from coffee brewing to bar keeping.

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