God’s Dwelling Place is With Man

God’s dwelling place is with man. This is a theme in scripture that we often attribute to the New Testament when Christ comes to earth as our Immanuel in the incarnation (and rightly so!). But, God’s dwelling place has been with man since God’s creation, and indeed, we can know that God’s plan to dwell with man has been set forth since the foundations of the earth (Ephesians 1). From God’s dwelling with Adam and Eve, to the Lord dwelling with the Israelites in the desert, He has been a God who dwells with his people. When Solomon was building the Lord’s temple in 1 King 6:13, God tells Solomon, “And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel.” God then comes to us in humility in the person of Christ: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Song from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1 :14). We see the cohesiveness of scripture in this theme of God dwelling with man, but thankfully, this theme does not end in the Gospel of John. We receive an eschatological hope in Christ’s dwelling with man in Revelation 21:1-4 where it states

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Behold! the dwelling place of God is with man! What good news for us as God’s people. We have a past hope of God’s dwelling with man before the fall, and a robust vision of God being a God who covenants to his people Israel faithfully, even in their unfaithfulness. We also experience Christ’s presence in the Church now in and through Christ through the preaching of his Word and the receiving of His sacraments by the power of the Holy Spirit. And even more, we have a future hope, still! God’s future dwelling place will still be with man. This image in Revelation 21 is something that no eye has seen, nor ear has heard. God wants us to imagine it. He wants us to spend time imagining a place where we will dwell with God in perfect peace where sin and suffering will be no more.  Until then, God dwells with his imperfect people until He comes again to bring about this future hope. We wait.


A Song:


A Poem:

God With Us

God with us
impossible it seems
grasping in muddy darkness
thirsty

Can it be?
God with us?
Where is He?

God with us
Impossible it seems
Impossible it seems
Impossible it seems

God with us
improbable indeed

God with us
groaning in anguish
to be known
and we are
fed

God with us
God with us
God with us

 

Behind the Poem:

I wanted to write an ecclesiological/liturgical poem that reflected the doubt and thirstiness we have before being summoned to worship. We’re tired, incredulous and doubting. But, when we reflect on the impossibility of God being with us in worship, we realize it is indeed possible and we are satiatied and fed by the word and sacrament. We are left in the power of God with us in the Trinity. God with us (Father) God with us (Son) God with us (Spirit).

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