As we enter the new meeting house, I was directed in my thinking to these words from Psalm 36, which describe the act of attending church.
We have built this meeting house in order that we might attend personally, fellowshipping with our brothers and sisters, for the act of worship. It is very appropriate that we pause, and reflect upon the purpose behind the meeting house.
Why have we erected this building?
What is the value in attending the House of God?
These questions are answered by this brief Psalm.
The Analogy with Attending God’s House
As the writer relates the act of attending God’s House he refers to children of men abiding under the shadow of God’s wings. We are instantly directed to think upon the little baby birds finding warmth and protection in the soft feathers of mother.
Entering the place where God’s people are, at the appointed hour of worship, is a time of rest and spiritual protection under the care of His wings.
It is believed by some, that when the Psalmists referred to the wings of God, it was the outstretched wings of the golden cherubim covering the mercy seat, which was in view. They signify that the child of God is always safe in the place where the precious blood is sprinkled. As we worship God we are regularly reminded of the blood of the Lamb through the praising , the praying and the preaching; this is our refuge.
The Argument in Attending God’s House
We worship God, primarily because He loves us. It is true that as we worship we recognise all the superlatives of His immense being; omniscience, immutability, omnipresence, infinity, omnipotence, holiness, righteousness, justice, truth etc..If it were not for His love, however, we would be unable to worship Him; we would be cast away nor would the desire would not be in our hearts.
The love of God adopts us into His family, makes us righteous at the bar of His justice and sends the Holy Spirit into our souls. It is because of this love, sealed with Christ’s precious blood, that we can draw near into His presence.
Lovingkindness has sometimes been translated unfailing love, The word excellent reminds us that this love of God towards us is constant; we are sinners in need of grace, His mercy is constant.
The Attitude through Attending God’s House
God’s House is a place of edification, of spiritual sustenance. There is satisfaction through the fatness, that which was regarded as the prime cut of the carcass. There is refreshing to be enjoyed through drinking from the river of God’s pleasure.
To enjoy this nourishment, however, we must sense our hunger, our thirst, our need. We approach God’s House a needy people, at the point of starvation, crying out for a word in season. If we approach God’s House with a careless attitude, indifferent, proud and self reliant there will be nourishment, we won’t appreciate nor partake.
As the Scriptures are set before us let us seize the opportunities that God has given, that we might grow in grace.
The Alteration after Attending God’s House
God’s House ought to be a place where lives our changed, where thinking is corrected, where opinions are challenged, where sins are repented of and where decisions are directed.
It is only as we see the light that comes from God that such a difference can be made. A revelation of God, through the Holy Spirit working in the Word, will be transformative.
As God shows us His light, however, He does so through the revelation of Jesus Christ.
All of this is a picture of the soul in communion in God, basking in His love, filled with His Spirit, ravished by the person of Christ, growing in love, becoming stronger in grace and equipped for Christian service.
This is what it means to attend God’s House.