“And now the Lord has fulfilled the promise he made, for I have become king in my father’s place, and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the Lord promised. I have built this Temple to honor the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. And I have prepared a place there for the Ark, which contains the covenant that the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.” (NLT)
Our great God cannot be confined to a certain building, not limited to a certain geographical position. Even Solomon, who uttered these words having built a temple, recognised that God was not so restricted.
And yet he built a temple, encouraged to do so by none other than God himself. The fact that God does not live exclusively in any building is not to say buildings don’t matter. Church buildings, for example, are more than just glorified rain shelters. They are places where significant things happen, where life events occur. They are places of memory, some difficult, some delightful.
Those of us who have visited great cathedrals can both believe God is not captive to them and yet is pleased to meet with his people who gather there. They are places which by their very magnificence testify to the majesty of God.
It is sad to hear of people more attached to a building than to God himself, sad to think that some believe a church building is more sacred than other places. But this is not to deny that some places have more evocative associations and more potent memories than other places. A chair in the corner of a house, a log by a riverbank, a bench in a park, these can all have significant associations as well as church structures.
God is everywhere, but in our hearts and minds some places will always be our special sacred sites.