And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them, He will wipe every tear from their eyes.” Rev 21:3-4a (NRSV)
Margie and I have lived in a variety of dwellings since we were married in 1970. Our first home was an 8 x 32 foot trailer house. It was cozy to say the least. Since both of us were going to college it was all we could afford. As a seminary student we lived in apartments. It was better than dorm living but not as great as being able to live in a house. Chamberlain has allowed us the opportunity to own our own dwelling with all the joys and headaches that come with it. As I reflect on the different dwellings that I have lived in I am reminded that God has also dwelled in those dwellings with me. It is interesting that the same Greek word occurs twice in the above scripture passage. First as a noun translated as home (dwelling) and then as a verb translated as dwell. In the Old Testament the word dwelling was translated as tabernacle. (see Leviticus 26:11-12) When the tabernacle was built it was a reminder that God was dwelling with God’s people. When the temple was built the inner Holy of Holies became the dwelling place for God. Today many still think of the church as God’s house i.e. God’s dwelling place. But when Jesus was born in Bethlehem the view of God’s dwelling among us expanded. For Jesus walked with the people, talked with the people and dwelt with them in their daily lives. The voice from heaven reminds us that God continues to dwell with God’s people, not just in God’s house. God dwells in our homes and is with us in our daily lives. When we are at work or at school God is with us. When we are in the hospital God is dwelling with us. No matter where we go or what difficulty we face, we have the assurance from God’s word that God is with us. I find this to be a great hope and comfort. When people face times of difficulty, many times they begin to think that God has abandoned them. Not So! the voice reminds us. God’s dwelling is not in some far off place in heaven, but rather with us here on earth, to help us through the difficulties of life.